Study: Vacation Rentals Compounding South Florida Housing Crisis

A new study suggests that short-term rentals are contributing to the region’s housing shortage and helping drive up costs for renter households.

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January 24, 2023, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Gate in front of Miami Beach apartment building with many lock boxes for short-term renter access

Lock boxes for short-term rental guests on a Miami Beach apartment building. | Felix Mizioznikov / Miami Beach apartment building

New research from Florida Atlantic University indicates that the growth of the short-term vacation rental industry could be impacting housing affordability in South Florida, a claim often made by critics of the STR model. As Amber Bonefont reports for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, taking apartments off the market to use them as vacation rentals can drive up housing costs for long-term renters.

According to study author Ken H. Johnson, “It’s the shortage of available units that drives rental rates higher. While developers and local governments clearly need to build more units, that’s not the only solution to this problem.”

Similar impacts have been observed elsewhere. “A study published in the Harvard Law and Policy Review looked at the city of Los Angeles and concluded that converting a unit previously used by a resident to an Airbnb removed the unit from the rental market, therefore leading to a ‘real, but likely mild, increase in rents.’”

Vacation rental companies like Airbnb argue that the sharp rise in housing costs is unrelated to their industry, as the share of STRs in U.S. housing stock has stayed roughly the same in the last decade. However, getting an accurate count of vacation rentals is notoriously difficult, making the scale of the problem hard to quantify.

Sunday, January 22, 2023 in South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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