Number of Vacation Rentals Listed on Rental Sites Up Year Over Year

by SC Publisher Shannen Hayes

The number of Sanibel vacation rentals listed on sites such as Airbnb and Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) have grown by 12.64 percent over the last year, to 340 properties on the island. That’s according to a recent study by AllTheRooms, a vacation rental search engine which based the figures on the number of homes on the market via rental sites.

Sanibel is low on the study’s list compared to nearby cities like Fort Myers Beach at a 70 percent short-term rental growth rate and Naples at 62 percent. The study also found that Sanibel homeowners took a total of $12,751,601 in bookings the past 12 months, an increase of 36 percent year-over-year. The average price per night at these rentals was $253, and the occupancy rate was 49 percent over the past year.

Kingfisher Vacation Rentals Owner Jeff McDermott said it’s been a “robust market” the past year for vacation rentals. “Bookings are up.”

The City of Sanibel doesn’t regulate how vacation rentals are advertised, but a business tax receipt is required. Private homes must be rented for four consecutive weeks or more. That time limit does not apply to resorts.

Councilwoman Holly Smith gave an update on short-term rentals Tuesday, July 16, at the city council meeting. She reported “a growing issue of non-compliant properties, mainly in the residential districts, not adhering to the 28-day minimum.” An ordinance for compliance fees will be discussed at the August council meeting.

House Bill 987 and Senate Bill 834, which would have put regulation of short-term rentals in the hands of the state instead of local municipalities, died in committee. “I want to see how we can better work at a state level to ensure municipalities can work together because some do not have any regulations,” said Smith.

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