On December 28, 2023

Short-term rentals are on the rise across Vermont


September saw the highest number of active short-term rentals out of any month on record. 


So are debates over how to regulate them

By Carly Berlin/VTDigger

Editor’s note: Report for America corps Carly Berlin wrote this story in  partnership between VTDigger and Vermont Public.

A new data analysis by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency found the number of homes listed on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO has grown rapidly over the last several years, following a brief pandemic downturn.

In September, Vermont saw the highest number of active short-term rentals out of any month on record: 11,747, a 16% increase relative to the same month last year, according to VHFA’s data analysis released in late October.

As the industry has boomed, more and more towns are grappling with short-term rentals’ impact on the availability of year-round housing — and debating approaches for how to track and regulate them. Meanwhile, short-term rental industry advocates argue towns, and the state, should gather more data before imposing restrictions.

The finance agency’s analysis shows that the number of active short-term rentals statewide has increased markedly over the last three years. The agency purchases private data from AirDNA, a site that aggregates rental listings from platforms like Airbnb and VRBO, and looks only at full-unit rentals, rather than partial-units such as a bedroom in a home.

Ski towns have the highest number of these rentals, according to VHFA’s analysis: Stowe, Killington, Ludlow, Dover, and Warren were the top five. Stowe, a town of a little over 5,000, had close to 1,000 active short-term rentals as of September.

The amount of Vermont’s housing stock used for short-term rentals is relatively small. According to VHFA, these rentals account for about 3.6% of the state’s total housing stock. About 16% of Vermont homes are seasonal or vacation homes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Because data on short-term rentals and information on seasonal and vacation homes come from different sources, it’s difficult to deduce how they map onto each other, said Nate Lantieri, research coordinator at VHFA. The agency also lacks data on how properties have historically been used, making it hard to track how many long-term units might be flipping to vacation use, and how the increasing number of short-term rentals might impact the year-round rental market. 

But even slight shifts can have an outsized effect when the year-round rental market is extremely tight, Lantieri said.

“When we’re looking at these really small vacancy rates across the state, any one unit that’s being taken out of year-round rental for potential short-term rental – it creates more pressure on the low vacancy rates already,” Lantieri said.

As the number of short-term rentals has shot up, so has the revenue they bring in, according to VHFA’s analysis. In February, average monthly revenue for these units surpassed $5,000 for the first time. As of September, average revenue had dipped to a little over $4,000 a month.

While the majority of short-term rental owners are Vermont residents – and have just one unit – some might see the industry as an investment opportunity, Lantieri said. 

“There are also people that see the numbers and say – that’s the market that’s potentially really lucrative,” Lantieri said.

Towns consider regulations

Ted Brady, executive director of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, said “there are at least a dozen” debates over local short-term rental rules underway in towns across the state, with many communities citing these rentals as

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Gov. Scott vetoes bill that would’ve restricted bee-killing pesticide

May 22, 2024
Staff report On Monday, May 20, World Bee Day, Gov. Phil Scott vetoed legislation meant to protect bees and other pollinators from a widely-used neuorotoxic pesticide. The bill (H.706) would  eliminate most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) in Vermont, which have been associated with alarming losses of managed and wild bee populations. Neonic insecticides are used on…

Health premium increases of 16%-19% projected for 2025

May 22, 2024
Vermonters are again facing steep upward premium growth for 2025 due to the cumulative impact of hospital costs, drug prices and state health care policy choices. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont projects that these trends will continue and will require rate increases of 16.3% for individual health plans and 19.1% for the small group…

Sanders: weight loss drugs could bankrupt U.S. health care

May 22, 2024
As part of his investigation into the outrageously high price of Ozempic and Wegovy in the U.S., U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a stunning new report May 15 exposing the potential of weight loss drugs to bankrupt American health care. In the report, HELP…

The future of fertilizer? Pee, says this Brattleboro institute

May 22, 2024
By Kate Kampner, Community News Service Editor’s note: The Community News Service is a program in which University of Vermont students work with professional editors to provide content for local news outlets at no cost. When Peter Stickney walks along his cow paddocks in the morning, he notes the scattered patches of greener grass across the…