Report finds Austin to be among nation’s best cities for those capitalizing on lucrative short-rental lodging trend. (Image via Shutterstock )
AUSTIN, TX — The capital city was ranked ninth best in the nation to capitalize on hosting airbnb guests in one’s home, even as the industry undergoes changes exerted by municipalities nationwide.
The new realtor.com study assessed the strongest markets in which to offer short-term rentals where people can transform their homes to accommodate airbnb guests. The median list price in Austin for an airbnb-modified home is $545,100, according to the study, with an average daily rate of $245. The occupancy rate for Austin airbnb sites is 71 percent, with 10,825 active rentals, realtor.com researchers found.
"There are about a zillion reasons to visit Austin," researcher wrote in their study. "Visitors come for music, media, and film festival South by Southwest, a Texas Longhorns football game, or paddleboarding down the Colorado River. And they’re all looking for places to crash."
Added Brad Pauly, a real estate broker with an eponymous firm: "There’s an event almost every weekend — it’s a nonstop flow of people. People will have their places filled for most of the year."
Amid backlash from established residents complaining of rowdy partying and overall noise from airbnb lodging sites in their neighborhoods’ midst, the city has exerted some control over the industry in recent months. Most condos, for example, can’t be rented out to temporary guests — only single-family homes or even a single bedroom inside a residence. Also, one has to pay to play, with the city assessing a $500 fee for a 12-month license for homeowners opening up their buildings as airbnb lodging.
The popularity of the Austin airbnb industry recently was found to be making a noticeable dent in the hotel industry from where the city derives the hotel occupancy tax rate, so this may augur future municipal controls to stem that revenue stream erosion.
Other municipalities have exerted strict controls, including Las Vegas and Washington, DC, where full-home rentals on sites like Airbnb with no owner present — comprising more than 70 percent of their current markets — eventually will be phased out, as realtor.com reported.
Hence their list, to assure those wanting to capitalize on the airbnb trend in compiling the most lucrative markets for the industry. No other Texas city made the top 10. Scottsdale, AZ; Orlando, FL; and New Orleans, LA were the top three cities for airbnb profiteering.
As is often the case with such studies that are national in scope, however, local readers might object to some of its reductive assessments. To wit: "A two-bedroom artist retreat is listed for under $100 a night in East Austin, an up-and-coming neighborhood," researchers add with palpable enthusiasm in touting the local market.
Yet longtime East Austin residents would argue (correctly) their enclave is hardly "up and coming" but one being overrun by airbnb lodging amid a powerful gentrification wave. Long a working-class part of the city largely populated by Latino and black residents, East Austin has emerged as a hotbed of airbnb activity as property owners seek to capitalize on the sector’s now-trendy appeal amid gentrification that has transformed the neighborhood.
While the realtor.com study is aimed at enterprise-minded property owners, many in East Austin lament the erosion of their established neighborhoods where luxury housing for a new demographic influx — namely younger folks lured by high-paying jobs in the city’s burgeoning high tech industry — increasingly replaces established homesteads. Many residents of East Austin view this gentrification trend — of which airbnb abundance is a symptom — as a not-too-positive trend as longtime residents unable to afford property taxes amid soaring home values are displaced.
For others seeking nothing more than an entrepreneurial opportunity to cash in on, the full realtor.com report can be viewed by clicking here.