Utah's short-term rentals are on the rise
The number of short-term rentals in Utah between 2019 and 2021 increased by nearly 27%, according to new data from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.
Driving the news: Critics say the rise of Airbnb and Vrbo has exacerbated local communities' housing shortage crises and driven up rental costs.
- Airbnb and Vrbo are online marketplaces that offer lodging and short-term rentals.
- It increased its inventory by nearly 1,000 units in those two years.
- Short-term rentals in Summit County made up about a quarter of housing units in the county.
- Five counties — Summit, Washington, Salt Lake, Rich and Grand — accounted for two-thirds of short-term rental growth over those two years.
Yes, but: "Short-term rentals are kind of like a Catch-22," said Dejan Eskic, a senior research fellow who wrote the brief.
- He said short-term rentals help boost the local economy because they provide the infrastructure for tourism.
- But at the same time, they can also be used for housing, Eskic added.
Of Salt Lake County's total short-term rentals, the majority are entire homes compared to private rooms.
- Salt Lake County contained 3,420 short-term rentals in 2021 — less than 1% of the county's housing units.
Of note: The analysis was "not intended to draw causality" for home prices, but rather to give policymakers a look at the number of short-term rentals in the state.
- "We could have a policy for some sort of regulation on [short-term rentals], but I think there could be unintended consequences," Eskic said.
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