Short-term rental properties remain in demand

Everyone is well aware of the explosion in short-term (vacation) rentals over the past five years, and our charming mountain town of Flagstaff is no exception. Despite the local controversy over licensing and regulating short-term rentals, Flagstaff Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway properties have continued to grow. In fact, homeowners have seen consistent occupancy rates after the initial lull of the onset of COVID-19 in March / April and have expressed surprise at the robustness of the market. A short search of vacation rental websites for the greater Flagstaff area shows over 500 units. An Airbnb superhost I spoke with said last year (2020) was incredibly better than 2019. Comments she received from guests indicated that they did not want to stay in a hotel and made inquiries. on reinforced cleaning and disinfection protocols. She heard from guests that they were so sick of being home.

Blue Door Properties owner and manager Mary Jane Morse reports that the past year has been “the busiest year we have ever had”. Blue Door Properties manages short term rentals for local owners in Flagstaff, Sedona, the Grand Canyon and Telluride. Morse goes on to say that there are many reasons people decide to rent their homes for the short term, such as increasing their monthly income, wanting to share their second home with others, helping pay a mortgage, or trying to keep their home. house after losing a job. “Some people are just trying to make it work,” Morse said. According to Mashvisor, an analytics website for real estate investors, the post-COVID short-term rental market is stronger than ever.

However, the guests have changed from the pre-COVID era. Prior to March, guests came from other states and countries to explore northern Arizona. Since the onset of COVID, according to Airbnb superhost Eve Hansen, most customers have come from Phoenix and the surrounding valleys. As people canceled their summer vacations in remote locations, the closer and safer “mini” vacations became a favorite activity. Some clients make last minute reservations to come to Flagstaff for a weekend to get out of the house and spend some time in nature. Others book longer, sometimes six weeks or more, and work remotely from their vacation spot while the kids go to school online.

And Flagstaff is an easy drive from Phoenix, yet still feels like halfway around the world among cool pine trees. Our outdoor fun opportunities such as hiking, biking, disc golf, regular golf, rock climbing, geocaching, stargazing, skiing, quad biking (I could go on but you see the idea) are endless. Bustling downtown Flagstaff offers quaint bookstores, local and native arts, delicious restaurants, breweries, outdoor gear stores, and a scenic promenade. The magnificent Grand Canyon and stunning red rocks of Sedona are just an hour’s drive away. It’s the perfect getaway from the big city, the traffic, the heat and crowded spaces. These qualities ensure that Flagstaff will always be a desirable location for vacationers.

The growth of the Flagstaff vacation rental market has had an impact on the community. In neighborhoods, complaints from residents include noise and light pollution, garbage, parking and overcrowding. Some people regret having neighbors; some do not. Some believe that the saturation of vacation rentals in Flagstaff contributes to the high cost and low availability of permanent accommodation.

Short-term rentals also provide well-paying jobs for cleaning crews, maintenance workers, and property managers. Customers contribute to the tourism industry which is so essential to our economy. Restaurants, bars and retailers benefit, even with COVID restrictions.

Without a doubt, Flagstaff’s finest attributes are its residents, the people who live there and contribute to our rich and diverse community. Wouldn’t it be ideal if more real estate investments stay local and create wealth for community members? Teachers and childcare workers, first aiders and caregivers, food and service workers, etc. ? The idea of ​​this business can be intimidating to some. But short-term rentals are a reality for Flagstaff and they’re here to stay. Look into FBN next month for more details on how to buy and operate your own vacation rental. Until then, stay healthy, Flagstaff! NBF

By Ambre Welsch

Amber Welsch is a business associate of the Mary Mendoza team at Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty. She has been a resident of Flagstaff for 20 years and is originally from Arizona. She can be reached at [email protected] or at 928-607-9566.

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