Airbnb and HR&A Advisors, a real estate and economic development consultancy, published a study detailing the impact of short-term rentals on five counties in Colorado: Summit, Grand, Eagle, Pitkin and Routt.
In the study, researchers noted that in Colorado, about 30 percent of visitors choose to use short-term rentals, and more than half of visitors who use short-term rentals stay in Summit County. Across the five counties, short-term rentals supported 14,700 jobs, directly and indirectly. More than 13,000 of these jobs were directly created by the short-term rental industry, and these jobs generated $599 million in total wages.
Other key findings include that more than 5 million visitors stayed in the surveyed counties and short-term rental visitors spent approximately $1 billion in mountain communities. Most of these visitors, about 37%, stayed specifically in Summit County, where visitors spent about $40,000 per permanent resident.
The study acknowledges the lack of affordable housing in all five counties and found that Summit County has 807 short-term housing units comparable to workforce housing. This means that these units are available more than 15 days per month and rent for less than $150 per day.
“As of October 2021, Summit County accounted for more than half of (short-term rentals) that could be comparable to affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households,” the study said.
Summit County has about 31,200 housing units and 20,800 short-term units, the study continues. In Breckenridge, housing staff aim to have 47% of the workforce living in the city over the next five years and to create a balance of 35% resident housing and 65% vacation housing. or resort in the community. Airbnb’s study also indicated that only 3% of current short-term rental inventory could be turned into workforce housing due to “typology, availability and price.” Potential solutions, the researchers wrote, should be addressed by building more affordable housing and encouraging conversion from short-term to long-term rentals.
Several City of Breckenridge staff, including housing planning officer Laurie Best, said building more housing isn’t the only solution. The city also has housing programs such as Housing Benefits and the Buyout Program which works to restrict homes.
“We can’t get away with it,” Best said.
According to the 2020 Summit County Housing Needs Assessment, the housing deficit in Summit County is expected to expand to nearly 2,400 units over the next few years, even taking into account the pipeline of affordable projects. This discrepancy, in part, was caused by short-term rentals, according to the study. In 2020, short-term rentals made up 50% of the entire vacant housing stock and one-third of the county’s entire housing stock. Over the next five years, the regional gap of the five neighboring counties is expected to exceed 5,100 units.
“It can be concluded that the expansion of owner occupancy gaps is related to the prevalence of investors, owners of second homes and previously owner-occupied inventory converted to long-term or short-term rentals,” says needs assessment.
Throughout the county, various government entities have worked to create regulations for short-term rentals in communities. Summit County Commissioners recently declared a nine-month moratorium on new licenses in neighborhood areas, and Silverthorne City Council held a business meeting to discuss introductory discussions on how to proceed with regulating them. Breckenridge City Council, which has had several conversations since enacting a moratorium in 2021, will continue discussions on short-term rentals on Tuesday, June 14, during its business session.