With three months to go before Augusta’s favorite golf tournament, the Masters Housing Bureau reports it is seeing twice the bookings for housing rentals compared to last January.
“We’re extremely pleased and extremely busy,” said Sue Parr, the president of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, which manages the Masters Housing Bureau.
It’s definitely a good sign, she said, after a slump in recent years when the economy took a dive.
Parr said she saw a drop in the amount of money businesses were willing to spend, but now interest is up and so are home prices.
Although it could be more people are booking earlier, Parr said she doesn’t think that’s the case.
Corporate Quarters President Diane Starr said she already has rented hundreds of homes in the Augusta area for Masters Week, which is April 8-14.
“It does feel like it’s going to be an even better year than last year,” she said this week.
There is also an increase in interest in large homes, driving up prices.
Typically, Starr said, repeat renters begin searching in the fall, and January and February usually bring the newcomers. But this year the phone has not stopped ringing.
Amy Hattaway’s River Island home in Evans already has been rented through Corporate Quarters and she’s planning how to spend the week away with her two children.
“It’s all about (the kids). That’s why we do it, even though they don’t feel that way when we’re cleaning for it,” Hattaway said.
In years past, the Hattaway family has enjoyed taking trips to Jamaica and Disney World, and visiting Hattaway’s mother in Florida.
The family has been renting the home for the past 10 years and this year saw an increase in price.
“That was nice,” she said. “It’s kind of steadily increased over the past few years.”
Hattaway would not reveal the rental price.