[Cover Image: Caroline Bennett]
“Why would I have someone paying $700 when I can make $2,200 to $3,000 a month. Long-term rentals around here are hard to find and when you do, they want $1,000 per room and no one making $10 an hour can afford that. It’s tough for the town, and its going to be way tougher before it gets better.” -Breck local Jennifer Dahir-Kanehl
If you live in a mountain town deemed desirable for tourism you may have noticed a revolution in the housing market over the last few years….its called AirBnB. If you’re a second homeowner you love it. If you’re a struggling ski bum– it’s the bane of your existence.
The Denver Post did an excellent bit of reporting on the explosive trajectory of short-term vacation rentals in Colorado ski country and its effects on local communities. The boom in this newish type of rental has generated record amounts of income for homeowners and tax revenue for municipalities. The negative result is that the same increased demand has driven long term lease rates upwards by an astronomical amount.
Here’s how fast Airbnb is growning:
Airbnb guests in Colorado ski country nearly doubled over the 2015-16 season, along with the earnings by hosts. Over 121,000 visitors booked Airbnb homes in Avon, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Crested Butte, Dillon, Frisco, Keystone, Steamboat Springs, Telluride and Vail over this ski season. Statistics provided by Airbnb report that about 2,800 homeowners — a majority of them women — netted $32 million from those visitors, doubling from the previous season total.
73 year old Lois Montague and her 78 year old husband, Kent, are examples of how the short-term rental market can benefit locals as they decided to rent out their ground-floor, two-bedroom apartment in the house they built 20 years ago just outside Breckenridge. They were looking to pad their retirement income and ended up booking it nearly every night this winter, affording them both epic triple digit ski day seasons (life goals).
On the other side of the coin is the housing pinch for long-term rental created by the ultra lucrative short-term rental phenomena. With more and more homeowners deciding against renting to locals, the market for longterm rental is paltry and overpriced. It’s not as if the homeowners aren’t aware of the situation, its just the allure of making big bucks on short rents is too much to resist. Here’s how Lois Montage sees it:
“I know that Summit County and Breckenridge in particular have asked repeatedly through the news media that we consider renting the property out long-term to employees. But the employees can’t afford what we are getting for rent. I feel bad, but I guess I don’t feel quite that bad.”
Whether you’re raking in the loot as a homeowner or scraping by as a genuine ski bum, you are acutely aware of what short-term rentals have done to the fabric of our beloved ski communities. In my opinion, the only thing that will quell the growth of the market is local government intervention (not saying that what I want but its prob true). Otherwise, it’ll be difficult to pry that extra income from those homeowner that have already had a taste.
Do you have a better answer?
Find the entire Denver Post article here: Short-term vacation rentals surging in Colorado mountain towns