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With advent of summer, let beach rentals begin for up to $6,000/week

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Drive around San Diego County's beach communities during the summer and you'll notice it: an increased amount of out-of-state license plates.

For years, this wave of families, couples and college students migrate to San Diego and rent out beach homes along the county's coastline despite a price tag that can range from $1,500 to more than $6,000 per week.

This year will be no different, as the demand for summer rentals remains unchanged compared with previous years, according to Will Holland, president of San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals, which manages properties in Mission and Pacific beaches.

"There's more rentals available for vacation renters than I've ever seen before," said Marshall Bloomer, owner of beachhunter.com, mentioning that from October to March there is a large supply of vacant beach rentals in La Jolla and Mission and Pacific Beach.

During the summer months, Bloomer said many families from Arizona and other Southwest states rent out these properties either on a weekly or monthly basis.

Rather than rent a home for a month, Brian Barber, a Pacific Beach Coldwell Banker manager, said he's noticed an increase in vacationers purchasing a property as a second home and returning to it every year, while hiring property managers to handle the rent during the off-season.

It is also common for property owners who live year-round at the beach to rent out their homes for a month while on vacation, as this could equate to anywhere from $6,000 to more than $20,000 in rent paid by vacationers.

Another trend Bloomer has noticed on the boardwalk spanning Pacific and Mission beaches is the disappearance of traditional rental property. These days, owners can charge a higher rent when offering a property as a vacation home -- which means a majority of college students can't afford to rent in the area.

For those students, a more affordable alternative is to the south, in Ocean Beach, where there appears to be more traditional rental property.

According to Liz Martin, property manager for Sunset Pacific Realty, a majority of the company's properties are one-bedroom apartments or cottages that are priced from $900 to $1,200 a month. Sunset Pacific offers month-to-month leases and typically rents to out-of-state students.

For families looking to avoid the party atmosphere of Ocean, Mission and Pacific beaches, Dewanda Wilcsek, property manager for Beachfront Only Vacation Rentals, said Encinitas and Oceanside represent other beachfront options.

While some of Beachfront Only's properties, which contain multi-bedrooms, bathrooms and a kitchen, rent for as much as $7,250 a week, Wilcsek said they receive strong demand from Arizona, Nevada and Utah residents.

"People don't have a problem at all spending the money that's listed on our Web site," Wilcsek said, adding it's considerably cheap if you think about the number of bedrooms in comparison to a hotel, and the fact the family can cook their own meals and have beach access.

The cost of rent is apparently also not a problem for vacationers who choose to stay in Coronado. According to Courtney Gregory, an agent with Lee Mather Company Realtors, there is a minimum period of 26 days a renter must stay to avoid being charged a transient occupancy tax.

Gregory said demand for rentals in Coronado remain steady prior to summer, as vacationers enjoy the small-town atmosphere the city provides.

Throughout the county's beach communities, overall demand for vacation rentals is strong -- despite large rent increases spanning the past several years.

Holland said some weekly rents have increased $3,000 to $4,000 over several years, while other properties' asking rents may only slightly change.

Bloomer gave an example of one property he manages, which in 2002 rented for $1,200 a week and today rents for $5,800. This property, similar to others on the coast, experienced a rise in asking rent because of renovations to the home and an increase in property value.

As Bloomer put it, owners of beach rentals want to earn money on their investment to pay off their mortgage; thus, rents increase.

"This hasn't eliminated the good deal," Bloomer said. "It's just hard to find."

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