Vacation rental occupancy falling in some locales, says report

By: - May 27, 2022 6:00 am

The short-term rental industry, which is coming off a record year in 2021, may be seeing signs of softening, at least in some markets, says a new report from market analyst AIRDNA. 

“The declines in occupancy were most prevalent in destination/resort markets as well as in small cities throughout the country,” says the report for April. “As was the case last month, most of the weakness in occupancy stems from increases in the nightly supply of listings and not from systemic weakness in demand.”

Occupancy remains strong in Las Vegas, where it was up a little more than 20% from 2019.

Mountain/lake resort locations throughout the nation, but especially in the west, were among the locations with the biggest decline since before the pandemic in 2019. STR occupancy in the Northern Cascade mountains dropped 22% since 2019; the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts had the second highest decline with occupancy down 20%; Big Bear, California was down 18%; and Lake Tahoe was off about 5%.

Washington, D.C. had the biggest increase in occupancy from 2019 (up 37.5%), followed by Kauai, HI (up 32%) and Boston, MA (up 24%).

On the bright side: 

  • Demand is up nationwide 25.3% year-over-year and up 25% from 2019, before the pandemic
  • Average daily rates are up 11.2% year-to-year and up 34% from 2019 
  • Revenue is up 39.4% year-to-year and up 67.4% from 2019
  • Available listings reached 1.25 million, up 19.5% from last year and 8.5% from 2019 

The report cites the following reasons for concern: 

  • Nights booked were down 3.6% year-to-year to 17.4 million   
  • Occupancy was down 1.7% year-to-year to 60.2% but up 11.1% from 2019

“Most key STR performance indicators in April greatly exceed previous records, and growth continues to look strong over previous periods,” says the report from AIRDNA. “But similar to last month, some weakness is showing in select figures when compared to 2021…” 

Clark County, which has previously refused to regulate STRs, is in the process of finalizing an ordinance that must be passed by July 1, according to a state law passed last year in an effort to force the county’s hand. As many as 12,000 STRs may be operating unregulated in the unincorporated county, officials say.

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Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana has four adult children, two grandsons, three dogs, three cats and a cockatoo named Casper.