Airbnb-Style Rentals Are A Growing Cash Cow For Developers And Owners

By David Lyons
Sun Sentinel

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A 13-city study by the hotels arm of CBRE, a national real estate services firm, leaves no doubt that the home-share business is booming, driven in large part by multi-unit residential complexes.

Sun Sentinel

South Florida real estate agent Sara Dorfman hit the jackpot this month when she arranged the sale of a multi-unit complex in Fort Lauderdale’s Victoria Park for $1.65 million. The chief selling point: The property was set up for vacation home rentals. And the buyer is eager to continue that business.

“We see more investors who are looking to do things this way,” said Dorfman, who works for Native Realty. “I call them the savvy investor.”

On a grander scale, home sharing is becoming an attractive option for South Florida developers who are installing liberal rental programs for would-be residential owners, including partnerships with Airbnb, the third-party booking company, and Pillow, a short-term rental management service that serves as property manager and listing expert for residents.

“Historically speaking, a lot of people have had their second homes here since before the internet,” said Tom Martinelli, public policy manager for Airbnb in the Southeast. “If it’s a home or in a multi-family building, owners are getting smart to optimize their asset” so they can retire earlier or make additional income.

“Developers are seeing these trends and catering to this market as well,” Martinelli said.

But traditional hotel operators take a dim view of the home-sharing phenomenon, particularly through the increased use of multi-unit properties.

They assert that the business distorts the playing field in the favor of Airbnb and its homeowner partners.

Home sharing, they argue, has ballooned into a full-blown, multimillion dollar business, and is no longer just a side hustle for moms and pops in search of extra income.

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