Rentals of S.C. beach properties are down

Buddy Konecny has lowered rental rates on the Hilton Head Island beach houses that he manages about 10 percent across the board. But too many people still are window-shopping for better deals in this sluggish economy — even as spring break and Easter approach.

Konecny says he has never seen the market for rentals this bad in 20 years.

"Sometimes I think I need medical attention at the end of the day because I've been beat up on the phone so much," said Konecny, owner of Seashore Vacations. "They still want to negotiate."

With stunning job losses and a topsy-turvy stock market, fewer people are plunking down deposits for a vacation.

Even the corporate market is drying up.

That means discounts of 10 percent to 25 percent can be found on rental homes up and down the S.C. coast.

Rental agencies expect a wave of reservations closer to spring as people decide what they can afford this year and decide to take advantage of discounts.

"Everybody's shopping to get the best deal possible," said Paul Johnston, owner of Folly Beach Rental and Sales.

Johnston is advertising 15 percent off for vacation renters who book a condo through his company by the end of March. He is offering 25 percent off the rental price of an oceanfront beach house.

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