People who buy second homes often harbor the same fallback plan in case their purchase proves to be too much of a stretch: “Well, we can always rent it out if we get in trouble.” So with belts tightening and the real estate market in turmoil, how is the vacation-rental business holding up? Although there are few statistics on the national vacation-home rental market, property managers and online listings companies say that more second-home owners are trying to rent out their properties at least part-time, a trend no doubt propelled by the Internet as well as the gloomy economy. At the same time, prospective renters, feeling the financial pinch themselves, are more likely to haggle over prices, book shorter stays (often at the last minute) and opt for destinations within driving distance.
By Susan Stellin, Mar 20, 2009, NYT

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