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This $40,000 summer rental in Cutchogue is $15,000 in the fall (Credit: The Corcoron Group)

The arrival of Labor Day doesn’t just mean kids are heading back to school and there’s more room at the beach for locals. As balmy weather gives way to pumpkins and apple picking, fall home rental prices are dropping — meaning there’s good opportunity to get in while prices are right and the weather is still warm. 

According to Corcoran Group real estate agent Sheri Winter Clarry, fall is trending as a time to rent on the North Fork.

“Sometimes the fall is busier than summer on the North Fork,” Ms. Clarry said. “With all the pumpkin picking and fall harvests at the vineyards, it’s really busy and they’re renting for a month or two months.”

Vacationers who are extending their seasonal rentals another month or two comprise a major part of the trend.

“As the years go by, more and more people have been coming out here,” Ms. Clarry said. “More people are deciding to rent in the fall because it’s less expensive.”

Take, for instance, a three-bedroom waterfront property in Cutchogue that Ms. Clarry said is currently on the market for $15,000 for the fall season (Sept. 23 through Dec. 21), but rented for $40,000 this past summer.

$70,000 in the summer is now $15,000 in the fall on Shelter Island (Credit: M.Wein Realty)
$70,000 in the summer is now $15,000 in the fall on Shelter Island  (Credit: M.Wein Realty)

On Shelter Island, September is a “wind-down” month, according to realtor Melina Wein, who owns M. Wein Realty Inc.

“Some people have gone home, but the weather is still spectacular and restaurants are still open,” Ms. Wein said.

Much like the North Fork, Ms. Wein said most September rentals on Shelter Island are summer extensions. “The Rock’s” summer season, which used to span from Memorial Day to Labor Day, is now one month longer.

“Occasionally you’ll have people the first two weeks, but primarily they will stay that extra month. Some will even go until Columbus Day weekend, but that’s even fewer,” Ms. Wein said.

An example of Shelter Island’s summer-to-fall pricing is a waterfront four-bedroom house with an in-ground pool that rented for $70,000 over the summer. It’s now renting for $15,000 for the month of September.

For very high-end properties, the summer markdown is much less noticeable, said realtor Gina Galante of Brown Harris Stevens Hamptons, which serves the eastern end of the North Fork and the Hamptons.

“There’s not too much of a price difference — obviously less — but not drastically,” she said.

For Community Rentals of Mattituck, which serves Riverhead to East Marion, the market is split into two types of renters: summer and year round, according to owner Michael Herbert.

“Rarely do I get phone calls from people looking for September through November. People are basically back to work and back to school,” Mr. Herbert said.

Mr. Herbert did speculate that a waterfront property he’s handling that rented for $75,000 this summer would now rent for at least 25 percent less.

While the North Fork’s fall rental market may not be anywhere near as big right now as the summer market, lower prices do signal untapped opportunities.

“I would say generally it can be half the cost, or sometimes a little bit more,” Ms. Wein speculated. “It’s not August regarding price, but there’s definitely a deal to be made in September.”