After a busy summer, short-term lets in Florida look set for a brisk winter season. Despite the lack of foreign tourists and Canadian snowbirds, vacation rentals in the Sunshine State make a popular staycation option for Americans. As a result, rental rates are set to nearly double in some areas.
Busy summer season
Short-term lets in Florida had one of their busiest summers ever despite travel restrictions. The absence of foreign tourists hit the Sunshine State hard but Florida's popularity surged on the back of staycations.
“People visiting from places that are 6,8, 10 or even 12 hours away have been the area’s saving grace this year,” reported authorities in the Sarasota and Manatee area. Last-minute bookings from Americans anxious for their dose of sunshine have also filled the books.
Tampa Bay enjoyed 90% occupancy this summer compared to its usual 60%. And September in the area was the busiest on record.
Rates nearly double for short-term lets in Florida
According to an agent in South Florida and quoted in Forbes, prices rose by 15 to 20% in the summer. Using data from Airbnb and VRBO, he found that daily rates in June rose from US$165 to US$193. And even in August, a traditionally quiet month in Florida, rates soared from US$159 to US$207.
Figures for short-term lets in Florida for the winter season look set to follow a similar pattern. Bookings for February now average at US$468, up from US$234 last year.
Trend for “retreat units”
As well as boosting staycations, the pandemic has also shifted trends in holiday lets. Agents in Florida report a high increase in demand for larger properties. Americans are now looking to rent bigger homes to get together as family units or with friends.
One agent described these as “retreat units”. These short-term lets give people the chance to enjoy a holiday while observing covid-19 restrictions.
Holiday lets for house hunting
Short-term lets in Florida are also popular among house hunters in the state. Many choose to rent a holiday let for a month or two while they look for a property in the area. Agents report a big increase in this type of rentals.
Since the pandemic was declared in March, Florida has come to the forefront as one of the most desirable places to live in the US. The state has all the right ingredients and single-family homes in sought-after locations are in particular demand.
Staycations here to stay
Research into new trends for 2021 indicate that the staycation is very much here to stay. A recent Airbnb survey found that 62% of people are interested in taking a vacation within driving distance of home in 2021.
The continuation of the staycation trend augers well for short-term lets in Florida for the rest of 2020 and well into 2021.
(Source: Forbes, Herald Tribune, Airbnb)