Vacation Rental Season is in Full Swing

Tyson HinschbergerReal Estate News, Retirement, Seasonal

With the growing prominence of home sharing via websites like AirBNB & HomeAway, the accessibility of vacation rentals is at an all-time high. Instead of booking vacation time at a resort or hotel, it’s now easier than ever to arrange exclusive use of someone’s home for a temporary stay; and easier than ever to monetize your home when you’re not around.

Statistics show that over 260 million stays have been arranged on AirBNB since its inception, with over 150 million unique users and 1.9 million properties currently available for booking. The growth has been astronomical.

If you’ve never used a website like AirBNB, the registration process is fairly simple. You create an account, verify your ID with government identification, and begin to peruse the currently available homes based on whatever criteria you wish. You can sort properties based on number of guests, amenities, price, dates & even scan an interactive map to narrow options down to a specific locale. Once you find a property you like, you select your dates and book with the click of a button. The site takes a deposit (typically 50%) up front, and requires the payment of the balance just prior to your arrival.

When you arrive at the property, there is often a lockbox with a key, or the owner/manager is there to greet you & provide you with an orientation. You typically have access to the whole property, but each home is different; and the site will tell you what to expect prior to your arrival. The site also has a built-in review mechanism for reviewing past visitors’ comments prior to committing to a site- ensuring your stay is exactly what you’re expecting. Landlords also have the opportunity to review their guests as well, so guests’ respect for the property is important, unlike hotels or resorts.

As a regular AirBNB user, I’ve personally had nothing but great experiences with the company & the landlords I’ve rented from. Having stayed in Orillia, Gravenhurst, Tiny & Collingwood AirBNBs, there are some great places to stay all around us with incredible experiences at our fingertips. Thanks to AirDNA, we’re able to explore a little more about the market for rentals in those areas & where you might find a fit for your next getaway.

One of the most popular areas in Ontario for vacation rentals is Muskoka. According to AirDNA, there are currently 1,294 active properties in the region that extends from Orillia to Huntsville. These can range anywhere from studio apartments & bunkies to 10+ guest cottages, the average home featuring about an 8 guest maximum. The average daily rate for a Muskoka stay is $287/night in July (the most expensive month of the year), with 87% of rentals booked up over the summer months. From a landlord’s perspective, the average unit pulls $1,952/month in revenue over the course of the year, heavily skewed towards the summer months. National Geographic’s 2011 Best Summer Trip Desination, Muskoka is certainly worth the price of admission, but if you’re going the AirBNB route, you’ll want to book early!

Collingwood & Blue Mountain are popular year-round; great golf in summer on the bay, skiing in winter from ski-up chalets- there’s a little something for everybody. A smaller geographical area, there are 1,011 vacation listings, with a mix of smaller condos & grand chalets. At Blue Mountain, over 37% of listings are 2-bedrooms or less, but 28% are 5+ bedrooms, offering unrivaled variety to suit any group. The price point is still high though, with a peak daily average in ski season around $452/night. Somewhat less expensive given the smaller homes, the average stay in Collingwood is $139/night, with summer & winter peaks reaching closer to $180. Great value for it’s assortment of supplementary activities, the area is exceptional for its amenities, with some gorgeous contemporary accommodations to return to after a long day!

If wine or theatre is more your speed, then Niagara-on-the-Lake options for vacation rentals certainly won’t disappoint. With over 500 active rentals on the lakeside peninsula, a weekend trip for a play or wine tour is well within reach! Niagara-on-the-Lake has some beautiful boutique bed & breakfasts, who offer their accommodations on AirBNB. Over 1/3 of the rentals in town are private rooms within a shared home. Year round, the average nightly stay is fairly stable, from a summer peak of $291/night to a February low of $227. Those who choose to stay in Niagara-on-the-Lake seem to love it too, with 94% of guests leaving at least 4.5/5 star reviews, with an average guest rating of 4.82/5.

If you’re looking for a vacation getaway, you’re in the right province. With so many different options in Ontario, and with sites like AirBNB & HomeAway making it ever more accessible, we’re in prime position to take advantage of summer weather. Enjoy it!