In the process of doing what we do at ACK•Now, we dig deep into a lot of existing research and we talk to a lot of people. We ask them about the things they love about Nantucket. We explore challenges, including those that relate to growth and housing. And eventually, the conversation comes back to the same topics. One of them is short-term rentals.
It’s a subject that is getting a lot of attention in cities and vacation destinations around the country and the world. Communities everywhere are trying to cope with the challenges that short-term rentals bring. They have been around Nantucket for a long time, and are an important part of the local economy for many reasons. But with the advent of online platforms like Airbnb, the dynamics seem to be changing and the impacts on housing and neighborhoods appear to be increasing.
How big is the industry on Nantucket? We know we have at least 1,500 rentals registered with the state, and that number is growing as more vacation homeowners comply with the new short-term tax. We also know that the town collected $1.6 million more in lodging taxes last summer and fall compared to 2018 when only hotels and inns were being taxed. Given it’s a 6% tax, we can conservatively estimate that the short-term rental industry on Nantucket is worth well over $30 million annually. And that’s likely an underestimate.
No matter how you look at it, we are talking about a powerful economic force that’s worth discussing.
Have a great Sunday.