USGA Offers Guidelines for Open Housing Costs
The United States Golf Association (USGA) has taken the unprecedented step of establishing suggested weekly rental rates for private homes during the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open in 2014 at Pinehurst No. 2, in part because four homes are already listed at $150,000 for the two weeks.
“We view our rental market as an asset, but people need to be realistic,” said Jones, senior director of U.S. Open Championships for the USGA. “We just want to make sure that when the last putt drops, people won’t be disappointed that their home didn’t rent because they had unrealistic expectations.”
Jones, who lives and works in Pinehurst, remembers a few homes renting for $50,000 during the 2005 U.S. Open.
“But they were right there on No. 2,” he said. “I would not expect that to happen this time. It’s a different market given the recent economic downturn and its effect on corporate entertaining.”
Marcus Larose, co-owner of Weichert Realtors Larose & Company in Southern Pines, said he understands and respects the USGA’s concern.
“But everything is negotiable,” Larose said. “It will come down to supply and demand, and what pricing the market will bear. Just because we put $20,000 on a house doesn’t mean it won’t rent for $10,000. Ultimately, it’s up to the homeowner to decide.”
Larose, whose company already has 200 private residences listed for rent, added that he showed one of the $150,000 homes to a corporate hospitality firm last week.
“It’s on the top of their list,” he said. “These are corporate retreats that have amenities you can’t find elsewhere.”
The 2014 Opens present a unique challenge for all involved because it’s the first time the championships have been conducted in back-to-back weeks on the same golf course.
“This is a new experience that no one has any data on,” said Bob Graham, a Realtor and associate broker at Fore Properties in Southern Pines. “I’m not really anticipating a lot of two-week rentals.”
In addition to the suggested rate structure for both Opens, the USGA has put together a list of frequently asked questions about rental housing. The information is expected to be posted this week to the Moore County Chamber of Commerce and the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) websites.
“There were a lot of houses put up for rent in 2005 and a large number of them did not rent because their pricing structure was too high,” said Caleb Miles, president and CEO of the CVB. “The best advice I can give homeowners is, be reasonable. If it was your company or your money, what would you be willing to pay?
“If you put yourself in someone else’s shoes, it helps you gain perspective.”
The USGA’s suggested weekly rates are based on previous U.S. Opens and data obtained from the Masters Housing Bureau, which was established in 1970.
“A lot of people who travel to Augusta every year for the Masters are the same people who are going to be here in 2014,” Jones said.
Rental prices in Moore County vary based on square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, location and amenities, among other things.
“We just want to make sure we get some good information out there on rentals,” Jones said. “As we get requests, we’re going to funnel them through the appropriate channels. We’re not working with any particular company. We’re looking at the Realtors as a whole.”
Because the corporate planning and sales process is shorter than it was in 2005, Jones said he doesn’t expect rental activity to get in gear until next spring, when the USGA begins selling tickets to the 2014 Opens.
“That’s when I think folks will really start focusing on the details,” he said. “Once they’ve got their tickets, they’ll start thinking about where they’re going to stay.”
Miles noted that homeowners who enlist the help of a Realtor must collect state sales tax of 6.75 percent and county occupancy tax of 3 percent, while those who rent on their own are not subject to the taxes if their guests stay less than 15 days.
“We’d like to have as many people as possible stay in Moore County while attending the Opens because it’s good for the economy,” he said. “The 2005 Open had an economic impact of $124 million in a 12-county region.”
Graham said he rented 58 of the 76 homes that he listed in 2005.
“This is not an exact science,” he said. “I was successful by having a lot of average-price homes, something between $4,000 and $9,000. I’m going to post a range this time and then negotiate inside that range. I’m going with what has been successful for me in the past.”
Larose said he hopes that Tiger Woods wins three or four of the five major championships between now and the 2014 U.S. Open. Woods has 14 majors overall, four short of the career record held by Jack Nicklaus.
“If Tiger is close to tying or breaking Jack’s record, demand will be through the roof,” Larose said. “Of course, that’s a tall order, especially given how Tiger faltered on the weekend in a couple of majors this year. But it would be nice.”
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or tnatt@the pilot.com.
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