After a sluggish off-season tied to the sustained national recession and an abysmal June blamed on terrible weather, several real estate professionals this week reported a dramatic spike in weekly rentals just as the weather improved and reports of an August visit from President Obama were revealed.

A recent report compiled by the web-service, which matches people with weekly rentals, found that bookings on the Cape and Islands were down 20 per cent in January, down 24 per cent in February and down 3 per cent in March. The report tracks when people book a weekly rental, not the month whey they take their vacation.

But the report shows the trend reversed in April when bookings increased by a nominal one per cent, and then rose sharply as bookings spiked 30 per cent in May and a record 55 per cent in June.

Lauren Binder, a spokesperson for the web-service, said bookings are up 47 per cent so far in July. She said an unusually high number of people have booked in recent weeks which probably will push that figure higher by the end of the month.

While the report examines bookings for all of the Cape and Islands, the Vineyard generally follows the same pattern as the rest of the region, Ms. Binder said. Through the second week of July, the study finds, bookings for the Cape and Islands were down overall by 9 per cent, with the Vineyard down 8 per cent, the Cape down 7 per cent and Nantucket down 16 per cent.

But a strong surge in recent bookings has nearly eliminated that deficit, and Ms. Binder said bookings on the Cape and Vineyard may be on par with last year by the end of the month. She said it is unusual to see such a spike this late in the season.

“It’s unprecedented, really, we have never seen so many people booking this late. We had people calling us on their way to the [Vineyard] in late June and [early] July asking: ‘Do you have anything available for today?’ We have people still looking to fill weeks in August, and we are telling them: ‘Don’t give up; we are getting calls every day.’”

There are other positive indicators for the summer. Steamship Authority figures show the ferry carried 115,009 people on the Vineyard route through July 11, up 4,114 passengers or 3.7 per cent over the same period last year.

Ms. Binder speculated that because of the poor economy, people are waiting until the last minute to book vacations. The dramatic change in the weather in recent weeks also has been a help, she said.

“The weather was terrible in June, let’s face it. If the weather had been gorgeous in June, I think we would have seen this turnaround earlier. But I think a lot of people looked out their windows in June and said: ‘Why should I pay all that money when I can stay at home and sit in the rain.’ But then the nice weather came around and all of a sudden it felt like summer,” she said.

As further evidence of the resurgence in the summer rental market, Ms. Binder said July 8 represented the heaviest day for rental traffic in the company’s 11-year history. The record volume of inquiries came days after the Fourth of July weekend that offered near perfect weather, and amid reports that President Obama was seriously considering a vacation on the Vineyard.

Anne Mayhew of Sandpiper Rentals in Edgartown said it is still too early to tell if the spike in weekly rentals is linked to the prospect of a presidential visit.

But Ms. Mayhew confirmed a sharp turnaround in the rental market recently.

“I think the economy, more than anything, is pushing people to wait until the very last minute before they commit to a vacation rental. They are being very cautious with their money this year, more so than ever,” she said.