Will the Coronavirus do what we could not - wipe out short term rentals?

OFFICIALS TELL FLORIDA KEYS TO CLOSE HOTELS, VACATION RENTALS ON SUNDAY, March 19, 2020 Decisions will be in place for 14 days.

Julian officials ask visitors to stay away during this critical period. This message, no doubt to make a point, came from the Julian Chamber of Commerce. Come on Mission Beach Town Council. Even though you are now a business association, do the right thing and ask for a voluntary shutdown of short term rentals in Mission Beach.

The March short term rentals data will be very telling, as according to previous years there is a significant increase in the percent of short term rentals occupancy from February to March. In the AirDNA data sheet below, the occupancy from February to March increased in 2019 from 29 to 52 percent (25th percentile), and from 59 to 75 percent (50th percentile).

While there are still short term rentals active in Mission Beach, some reportedly with 10-20 people cramming into 4 or 5 bedroom properties and actively partying, a walk down either of the boardwalks on a Saturday night on a very nice sunny day was dark, very dark.The platform, AirBnB, reportedly has solicited Congress to set aside funds for their hosts, but this seems more like an effort to convince their hosts not to jump ship than to seriously secure funds. Short term rentals is a risk reward business.

This is a very bad time for the platforms and the hosts. Some will try to hang on till summer hoping the virus will subside by then, but even if it has hits its peak in California in May, chances are that Arizona and Nevada will still be in the middle of their cycle during the summer months. And even if the virus is under control, it is very unlikely that the economy will be any where near where it was pre-coronavirus. It is much more likely that the virus and economy will have a very negative impact on the short term rental industry for the next 18 months. And, during that period, most of the short term rental hosts will go back to long term rentals. My guess is that eighty percent of the short term rentals will convert back. If this happens, Mission Beach will be restored. Hopefully during this time time, the mayor and City Council will move forward with limits on numbers of STRs, or of course, enforcement of the municipal code, therefore returning all of the short term rentals to the long term housing market.

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