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Short-term rental listings continue to rise in Wilmington

Thalian Hall in Downtown Wilmington NC
Thalian Hall in Downtown Wilmington NC(Staff)
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 7:51 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Just last month, the registration fee and other restrictions for short term rentals were lifted by the Wilmington City Council following a court ruling. But even before this decision was made, short-term rental listings have been steadily rising in Wilmington.

According to AirDNA’s data on short term rentals, the Wilmington area has about 1,157 active short-term rentals. Of that, 87% are for the entire home. “Active rentals” are defined as having at least one reserved or available day in the last month. 46% of these are considered full-time by AirDNA, meaning they were available for at least 181 days of the past year.

For comparison, apartments.com lists 1,416 apartments available in the Wilmington area.

Skimming through Airbnb listings paints a similar picture: there are over 1,000 stays available in July with the “I’m flexible” option. The amount of stays decreases for a specific week, but as of writing there are regularly around 400-500 stays available for a given week in July. In August, some weeks have 900-1000 stays.

A couple looking to stay for a month in October has around 500 options available.

However, if they zoom out to a slightly larger area, there are actually over 1000 options available for that month.

This is where the data gets a bit tricky: AirDNA divides Wilmington up into a more specific chunk than Airbnb does, and this data from Airbnb is based on future listings, not past ones.

Scraping data from websites in general can run into issues of bad data. False or fraudulent listings can remain undetected if nobody bothers to check. AirDNA is also a for-profit company with a vested interest in selling its data to investors, and is not forthcoming about its data-collecting methodology. Apartments.com also suffers from similar limitations; it is run by real estate marketing and analytics company CoStar.

These data sources are closer to estimates than exact measures, but overall trends continue to indicate that short-term rentals are more popular than ever and still growing. Only time will tell whether the number of short-term rentals will increase past the number of standard rentals in Wilmington.

In parts of New York City, this already happened. The number of short-term rental listings surpassed the number of standard rental listings by a few thousand, and there are bidding wars for one in five rental apartments in Manhattan.

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