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Even as the pandemic subsides, vacation rentals remain popular with “digital nomads”

Savannah Maher Feb 15, 2022
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"Digital nomads" are still dominating part of the vacation rental space, but it's affecting affordable housing in some areas. Farknot_Architect / Getty Images

Even as the pandemic subsides, vacation rentals remain popular with “digital nomads”

Savannah Maher Feb 15, 2022
Heard on:
"Digital nomads" are still dominating part of the vacation rental space, but it's affecting affordable housing in some areas. Farknot_Architect / Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Analysts expect Airbnb earnings to be strong thanks to rebounding leisure travel – and also thanks to a pandemic-era trend of remote workers booking long stays in rental properties so they can work from some place beautiful.  

Some communities that have seen a boom in that kind of visitor. There’s been a shift among visitors to New Hampshire’s lakes region. 

“Instead of coming for a few days, they may come for a month,” said Karmen Gifford, with the region’s chamber of commerce. She said most of these visitors have been choosing vacation rentals over hotels.

“They come for their vacation to go out and hike and ski. Then they add working remote on either end of it and so it becomes a blend,” she said.

That comes at a cost, said Steven Peterson, a regional economist with the University of Idaho. 

“If it’s sustained, it could take a number of houses out of the housing market,” he said.

In many communities, it already has. Take Kootenai County in Northern Idaho, where Peterson says the vacation rental market is contributing to an affordable housing crisis. 

“Only 25% of the population would be able to afford a home up in Kootenai County at today’s prices,” he said.

Peterson adds that “digital nomads” provide a short term boost to the local economy, but people who work in that economy are getting priced out. 

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