What is the effect of the pandemic on rental properties and rates in central Florida?
Whilst fears were that the pandemic would rock the rental property market in Florida for the worse, the reverse effect appears to have taken place. Other than the enforced state closure of vacation property rentals in April and May 2020, homeowners with short term vacation rental properties have been able to continue renting since that time. There have been adjustments along the way with longer gaps between bookings to allow for proper cleaning and sanitization but other than that, normality resumed and quickly.
Demand for rental vacation homes in central Florida has remained high with the vast majority of the hundreds of rental properties that we book out for our homeowners retaining near full occupancy throughout 2021. Whilst other States remained closed or fettered with COVID restrictions, Florida stayed open to tourism and boy! did they come in their droves. September saw the usual quieting of calendars but now we see full calendars heading towards Thanksgiving and Christmas this year; with Easter 2022 also reaching capacity booking too already. The confirmation from the White House today that COVID travel restrictions for travellers from the UK and EU coming to Florida will end from November 8, 2021 will only serve to fuel the demand for these short term rental properties here in Florida.
What about rental rates I hear you ask? Well according to official reports, central Florida has already seen an increase of 16.4% in rental rates so far in 2021. To put this in context, rental rate growth in January through September pre pandemic in 2017-2019 only averaged 3.4% increase. Many of our short term vacation owners have been able to increase their rental rates and through many more guests booking direct, the clean fee and taxes are also included in each booking.
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