Short-term rental properties remain in demand – Flagstaff Business & Online News

Everyone is aware of the explosion in short term rentals over the past five years, and our cozy mountain town of Flagstaff has been no exception. Despite local controversy over allowing and regulating short-term rentals, Flagstaff Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway properties have continued to grow. In fact, after the first early COVID hiatus on March 19 / April, the owners saw constant occupancy and expressed their surprise at the resilient market. A quick search on the vacation rental websites for the Greater Flagstaff area reveals over 500 units. An Airbnb superhost I spoke to said the past year (2020) was incredibly better than 2019. Feedback from guests showed they didn’t want to stay in a hotel and asked about the improved cleaning and sanitizing protocols. She heard from guests that they were just tired of being home.

Mary Jane Morse, owner and manager of Blue Door Properties, reports that last year was “the busiest year we have ever had”. Blue Door Properties manages short term rentals for local owners in Flagstaff, Sedona, the Grand Canyon and Telluride. Morse goes on to say that there are many reasons why people choose to rent their home on short notice. B. To increase her monthly income, to share her second home with others, to help with a mortgage or to try to keep her house after losing a job. “Some people are just trying to get it to work,” Morse said. According to Mashvisor, an analytics website for real estate investors, the post-COVID short-term rental market remains strong.

However, guests have changed from pre-COVID times. Before March, guests from other states and countries came to explore Northern Arizona. According to Airbnb superhost Eve Hansen, most guests have been coming from Phoenix and the surrounding valley areas since the beginning of COVID. With people canceling their summer vacations in distant places, the closer, safer “mini” vacation has become a favorite pastime. Some guests make last-minute reservations for a weekend in Flagstaff to get out of the house and spend time in the great outdoors. Others book longer, sometimes six weeks or more, and work from their vacation spot while the kids go to school online.

And Flagstaff is an easy drive from Phoenix and still feels like a world in the cool pines. Our options for enjoying the great outdoors such as hiking, biking, disc golf, regular golfing, climbing, geocaching, stargazing, skiing, 4×4 (I could go on but you got the idea) are endless. Vibrant downtown Flagstaff features quaint bookstores, local and native art, delicious restaurants, breweries, outdoor gear shops, and scenic walk-throughs. The magnificent Grand Canyon and the breathtaking red rocks of Sedona are only an hour away. It’s the perfect getaway from the big city, the traffic, the heat and the crowded rooms. These features ensure that Flagstaff is always a desirable place for vacationers to spend time.

The growth of the Flagstaff rental market is having an impact on the community. In the neighborhoods, complaints from residents include noise and light disturbances, rubbish, parking spaces, and overcrowding. Some people miss neighbors; some not. Some believe that the saturation of vacation rentals in Flagstaff contributes to the high cost and low availability of permanent housing.

Short term rentals also offer well paying jobs for cleaners, maintenance workers, and property managers. Guests contribute to the tourism industry, which is so important to our economy. Restaurants, bars, and retailers also benefit with COVID restrictions.

Hands down, the best attributes of Flagstaff are the residents, the people who call it home and who contribute to our rich and diverse community. Wouldn’t it be ideal if more real estate investments stayed local and created wealth for these community members? The teachers and childcare workers, emergency and health workers, the food and service workers, etc.? The thought of this endeavor may be intimidating to some. But short term rentals are a reality for Flagstaff and they are here to stay. Check out FBN next month for how to buy and operate your own vacation home. Until then, stay safe, Flagstaff! FBN

By Amber Welsch

Amber Welsch is a sales representative on the Mary Mendoza team at Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty. She has lived in Flagstaff for 20 years and is a native of Arizona. She can be reached at [email protected] or 928-607-9566.

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