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.

Read Time: 1 minute

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

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

View of stone-paved street with pedestrians and "Farmers Market" neon sign on left and old buildings on right in Seattle, Washington

Push and Pull: The Link Between Walkability and Affordability

The increased demand for walkable urban spaces could make them more and more exclusionary if cities don’t pursue policies to limit displacement and boost affordability.

January 27, 2023 - Smart Cities Dive

Aerial view of residential neighborhood in La Habra, California at sunset

Orange County Project Could Go Forward Under ‘Builder’s Remedy’

The nation’s largest home builder could receive approval for a 530-unit development under an obscure state law as the city of La Habra’s zoning laws hang in limbo after the state rejected its proposed housing plan.

11 minutes ago - Orange County Register

Protesters with signs in Atlanta after Tyre Nichols murder

Memphis: Crime-fighting Camera Sheds Light on Police Abuse

The irony is unmistakable. Public surveillance cameras, long controversial in the criminal justice community, provided pivotal video footage of the beating of motorist Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers at a traffic stop on January 7.

1 hour ago - The New York Times

Photo of cars on two-way separated highway with illustrated lines between them indicating tech-driven decisions

How Autonomous Cars Could Impact Energy Use

The complex algorithms used by self-driving vehicle technology use massive amounts of energy, which could lead to a steep rise in carbon emissions as autonomous cars become more commonplace.

2 hours ago - Dezeen