324 to 1,472 – Where will our community live?

The sharing economy and companies like Airbnb have disrupted industries and markets. A decade after launching, Airbnb has over 7 million listings, including over 660,000 in the US alone. It’s still growing, adding 14,000 new hosts every month. 

What do we know about the rise of Airbnb and the like on Nantucket up until the pandemic?

Although there is no public information about short-term rentals listed or booked exclusively through local realtors or vacation clubs (i.e., Inspirato, Exclusive Resorts), there are several ways to get Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO data. 

Here’s what the survey says. (1)

Listings on Nantucket grew fivefold from 2016 to 2019. The number of Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO listings went from 324 to 1,472. Although this seems like a staggering jump, it’s still over 500 listings shy of the 2,000 short-term rentals registered with the State – suggesting 1/4 or more are only available through local realtors or directly through an owner’s website.

Spending a week on Nantucket got much more expensive. In July and August, the average rate for a house was up around 40% to $1,100 per night. That means the average cost for a one-week rental went from $5,500 to over $7,550 in just three years – before fees or taxes.

House rentals dominate the market. Over 80% of Nantucket listings offered on Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO are entire houses. There are two other categories of listings: private rooms and hotel comparables (a studio or one-bedroom rental). Together, these two groups represent less than 20% of Nantucket listings. 

In the summer of 2019, around 145 homeowners offered a private room on Airbnb or HomeAway/VRBO. The extra income can make a difference to some. Perhaps it helps avoid a second or third job, or makes homeownership possible.

Nantucket also had 125 studio/one-bedroom apartments available for short-term rent online. Interestingly, close to 80 apartments are available at any time of the year. Given the dwindling number of year-round rentals, any short-term rental regulations should aim to transfer some of this stock back to year-round rentals over time. 

How was this summer different? We’ll discuss that next Sunday.

Enjoy your week,

Julia Lindner
Executive Director


(1) AirDNA market trend report (2016-2019).

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