Home & Leisure

The short-term rental market took off during the pandemic's real estate boom, but at what cost?

Amber Randall, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Needing places to either work from temporarily or vacation as they escaped pandemic restrictions, COVID fleers made South Florida one of their top destinations.

And with them came an increased need for short-term housing, or vacation rentals.

“It appears mostly in the Sunbelt states, particularly in Florida, in South Carolina, where we have beachfronts and parts of Texas,” Ken H. Johnson, real estate economist at Florida Atlantic University. “If you were going to work from home and you were in the north or in the Midwest, and you wanted to get away from home or even work for a short while, you could do it from West Palm Beach or Miami.”

At the same time, investments in short-term rentals in South Florida took off as investors sought to cash in on the soaring real estate market, according to real estate agents in South Florida.

It’s a nice way for home owners to earn some extra cash, but how does the proliferation of short-term rentals affect a community?

The business end


Agents witnessed the trend first-hand, and reported an uptick in people looking to buy these investment properties.

“A lot of people came to the AirBnB market,” said Benjamin Gene, president of Keyes Property Management in Pompano Beach. “They saw the market and they saw that they could make almost three times the income in a vacation rental. They also saw the demand as compared to a hotel because people were scared [of public spaces.]”

According to Gene, they saw an approximate 200% increase in their portfolio of vacation rentals over the course of the pandemic.

Shannon Nowden, with the Nowden Group in Fort Lauderdale, has seen a similar trend over the past three years, as interest in acquiring such properties has only risen. In 2019, he said about 10% of his clients were interested in buying a short-term rental property, while in 2020, the number jumped to 25%. By 2021, 60% of his clients were looking to get into the market.


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