Trouble finding an OBX vacation rental? You're not alone.

OBX vacation homes.jpg
Posted at 11:29 AM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 18:20:30-04

KITTY HAWK, N.C. – If you’re hoping to book a vacation rental in the Outer Banks this summer, you’ll likely be up for a difficult challenge — rental houses are in high demand and are booking quickly.

News 3 saw many social media posts about that challenge for potential vacationers. One of those is Jaclyn Griffith of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who said she and her extended family have made a trip to the Outer Banks a yearly tradition since 2009 — except this year.

“Even though it’s a lot further away, we’ve found it to be much more family-friendly," Griffith said. "It was much more affordable, and the beaches are clean; the beaches are free. In New Jersey, you have to pay to go onto the beaches.”

Griffith said her family started looking for a rental in February, a bit earlier than she has in the past. They have 11 people in their group and need the house to be pet-friendly.

“We could not find anything that met those needs and fit within our budget," Griffith said. "I mean, obviously, we could have found something right on the beach that sleeps 20 people, but of course, the cost for something like that is out of our budget."

She added, “We’ve never had problems in the past, and I think that’s what was so frustrating this year. We’ve booked as late as April for July 4th for all of us, and we’ve never had any trouble.”

Tammy Kinser, general manager of Shoreline OBX Vacation Rentals, confirmed the demand is high.

"We are pretty well sold out for this summer. The only thing we have available are new properties to our program or new to the market. And it’s slim pickings,” Kinser said.

Some people posted online that either the type of home they’re looking for is already full or it’s increased in price considerably.

“Prices are determined by various factors, and inflation has had a significant impact in rental rates," Kinser explained. "Rates are up anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent.”

As for how far out the houses are booking, she responded, “We still have a few that were just added to the rental market that have some availability, but outside of that we are booked solid through the end of August.”

She added that they’re already taking reservations for the 2023 summer season.

Griffith’s family decided to book a vacation closer to home this year but hopes to return to North Carolina.

“The Outer Banks does have a very special place in our hearts, and our memories and our family. So, we’d definitely like to go back there soon,” Griffith said.

Ashley Wood, property manager for Shoreline OBX Vacation Rentals offers some advice. She warns that mid-size houses like those that are four to six bedrooms are quite popular. She and Kinser said that once you stay at a property, many give renters the first shot at booking that week for the following year. Finally, they suggest considering off-peak dates like the Fall.