Utah short-term rentals are on the rise

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The number of short-term rentals in Utah between 2019 and 2021 increased 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 accommodations and short-term rentals.

What the report found: Unsurprisingly, Summit County, home to world-class ski resorts and the Sundance Film Festival, leads with the most short-term rentals in the state in 2021.

  • It increased its inventory by nearly 1,000 units in those two years.
  • Short-term rentals in Summit County accounted for about a quarter of the county’s housing.
  • Five counties — Summit, Washington, Salt Lake, Rich and Grand — accounted for two-thirds of short-term rent growth in those two years.

Yes, but: “Short-term rentals are a bit like a catch-22,” said Dejan Eskic, lead researcher who wrote the brief.

  • He said the short-term rentals help boost the local economy as they provide the infrastructure for tourism.
  • But at the same time, they can also be used for housing, Eskic added.

From Salt Lake County total short term rentals, the majority are entire homes versus private rooms.

  • Salt Lake County contained 3,420 short-term rentals in 2021, or less than 1% of county housing.

To note : The analysis was “not intended to establish causality” for home prices, but rather to give policymakers insight into 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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