“Last year was a huge bump over 2012 and the trajectory is continuing to increase,” said Sue Parr, president of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, which manages the Masters Housing Bureau. “We’re happy for homeowners and economic development in Augusta.”
The recession had an effect on prices, so when the economy shrank so did renter budgets.
Traci Ratley, vice president of Corporate Quarters, said there is renewed interest in “large, nice homes.” She recalled that for several years people often packed into homes but now it’s back to seeing one person per bedroom.
The housing company has more than 1,000 homes listed for this Masters Week, which runs from April 7-13. Ratley did not want to say how many homes have been rented but said the office had to open earlier this year because of increased interest.
“We usually don’t open the office until August but this year I was showing homes in June and taking calls on the beach,” she said.
Parr estimates the average rental price is 6 percent higher than last year in addition to increases in booking.
“That means our homeowners are able to receive the prices they’re asking and that could also mean more services in the home, like maid services,” Parr said.
John and Beth Guerrieri have been renting their Westlake home each year since it was built 12 years ago. The couple, who were new to the area, did not know they could rent out their home, but some neighbors who were doing so suggested it.
Like others, she said she’s happy to see an increase in interest and price again this year.
“The money is good,” she said. “There were maybe two years that weren’t as lucrative.”
Preparations for their renters begins each year in late February. The couple has been renting to the same corporation for around five years. It eliminates the need to go through showing their home to potential renters every year and they know what to expect.
Guerrieri said a few years ago they had to replace some of their smaller beds to meet the renters’ request for king or queen size beds, but that’s the only major change. Each year they go through the home removing personal objects and family photos and give their bathrooms a more “spa-like” feel.
“It kind of forces us into a spring cleaning,” she said.
They end the hard work with a week-long vacation during Masters Week. This year they’ve chosen Orlando, but have vacationed in Napa Valley, Texas and Cancun in past years.
They have again rented to a corporation and plan to vacation in Orlando while the renters move into their home for the week.
Guerrieri chose not to disclose her home’s rental price.
With more than two months to go, Parr expects many more homes to be rented. Last year, the Masters Housing Bureau continued to rent homes into Masters week.