NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Dreaming of a beach vacation this summer in a home to call your own?
CBS2's Vanessa Murdock reports, with the pandemic, booking sooner rather than later might be in your best interest.
The soothing sound of lapping waves. A stroll on the sand or the boardwalk. For so many, these "shore" things are synonymous with summer vacation.
So is the rental. But securing the perfect place this year is different.
"It's like booking for a COVID vaccine. You got to constantly be out there and constantly be maneuvering the sites to get scheduled," said Perry Beneduce, executive director of marketing and relocation and referral services at Diane Turton Realtors.
"It's crazy," Beneduce said.
Beneduce said as soon as a Jersey Shore rental becomes available, multiple people are checking it out or placing offers. Website traffic has doubled and cancellations are not a big deal.
"There isn't a rental listing we have right now that doesn't have multiple backups," he said.
In a typical year, they'd have about 3,000 rental listings. Not in 2021. Inventory is roughly half. A few factors include people who booked last year for this season and that landlords now live in the homes.
According to Beneduce, "a good 20 to 25 percent" of rentals have become permanent homes.
In the past, multiple people or families would rent together and split costs. But not this year. Renters feel more comfortable going solo.
"More people in Manhattan are like, 'Get me out of here ASAP,'" said Tara Schoen Fishman, a licensed real estate agent with Fire Island Homes.
Fishman described her lifelong getaway as a sanctuary.
"Our phones were ringing and it got insane," Fishman said. "We're out there, we're showing. We're freezing, we're slipping on ice."
Fishman says the biggest changes to the rental market on Fire Island this year are that people want to head there earlier and stay longer.
She estimates that 60% of inventory is already booked for the season.
"My advice is don't wait. Call us... It's a beautiful place to be," said Fishman, who's confident you'll find the refuge you seek along the shore.
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