2020 was a banner year for Pocono vacation rentals and Chris Barrett, president and CEO of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, said it appears 2021 is shaping up to be the same.

Barrett says in 2019, about 687 properties in Monroe County were registered as short-term rentals. Today, that number is closer to 1,500. He said research shows occupancy of those rentals is up 50%, and the cost is up 30%.

Barrett said demand increased at the beginning of last summer when the governor gave the go-ahead to reopen rentals, but the trend has continued into the winter.

"People can school and work from wherever they are. And that's a huge variable now that will change the face of how people are going to vacation, we think for a very long period of time," Barrett said.

Real estate broker Cindy Knecht describes the Pocono's rental market as "gang busters" with many people coming from New York and New Jersey for a stay. Her rental business tripled over the last year.

"In the summer, people were looking for homes with pools. They had privacy. They weren't dealing with community pools where other people were there because of COVID," Knecht said.

Knecht said the rental market mirrors the real estate market, which is hot with investors looking for a place to get away.

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