Airbnb Report: Short-Term Rentals Are Good For Routt County

A tax on short-term rentals in Steamboat Springs will have to move quickly, with a first reading tentatively set for June 20.
John F. Russell / Steamboat Pilot and Today

According to a study funded by the popular online short-term rental marketplace Airbnb, the negatives of short-term rentals are exaggerated and the benefits are enormous.

The report comes a week before Steamboat Springs City Council is due to vote on policies that could limit the number of short-term rentals allowed within city limits.

Throughout the discussions, city leaders agreed that short-term rentals affect the character of the community, but continue to debate whether placing restrictions on short-term rentals would increase availability and housing affordability.

Those who oppose the new restrictions have repeatedly asked the same question: “Where is the data?”

On Tuesday morning, May 31, Airbnb released the Colorado Short-Term Rental Impact Study.

According to Airbnb, the company commissioned the study from HR&A Advisors, a New York-based real estate advisory firm, which compiled and interpreted data from Eagle, Grand, Pitkin, Summit and Routt counties.

The report cites several sources such as the United States Census Bureau, the Colorado Tourism Office, and the American Community Survey, among others. As you might expect, Airbnb’s survey yielded favorable results for owners of short-term rentals.

Airbnb’s report says short-term rentals support 1,100 jobs in Routt County, and short-term rental visitors spent an estimated $65.3 million in the county in 2020, contributing 4. $5 million in state and local taxes.

The report claims there are approximately 6,800 short-term rental units in Routt County, which is a high estimate considering Granicus – the company contracted by the city to report the number of short-term rentals in the city limits – estimated that there are around 3,000 short-term accommodation. -term rental units legally operating in Steamboat Springs.

For both numbers to be accurate, an additional 3,800 short-term rentals would need to operate in the rest of Routt County.

Yet, according to Airbnb’s report, of the 6,800 short-term rentals in Routt County, only 178 were comparable to workforce housing in 2021.

The study defined “labour-comparable housing” as units estimated to cost less than $150 per day and were unoccupied for at least half the month.

Also, the number of bedrooms was not factored into the average daily rate, potentially excluding units that would cost less than $150 per day if the rent was divided by bedroom.

The report further states that between 2019 and 2021, only 46 potential labor units became short-term rentals. Still for some people, that’s a pretty high number.

“Even assuming their numbers are correct, 50 units in these mountain communities is a lot of units when considering housing occupancy rates, limited land/developable areas and development costs. “said Wendy Sullivan, director of WSW Consulting, after reading the report.

Airbnb’s report draws several conclusions, including the argument that the housing crisis in Routt County and other ski resorts should be attributed to a lack of housing supply rather than an abundance of rentals. short term.

“For example, in Steamboat Springs, construction of multifamily buildings has been stagnant since 2010, only increasing recently,” the report said.

According to Rebecca Bessey, director of community planning and development for Sullivan and Steamboat Springs, the lack of developable land at Steamboat and many other ski resorts has made it difficult to keep up with demand, especially in recent years, as demand exploded.

Compiled by The Steamboat Group Real Estate, the Steamboat Springs 2022 First Quarter Real Estate Report suggests that supply is unlikely to match the current level of demand.

“Even if the inventory was three times higher, it probably wouldn’t have been enough to provide choices for all the buyers we see for local properties,” the quarterly report said.

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