Southwest Florida was hit hard by the recession; real estate values plummeted, construction of new homes was non-existent, and the island has had its fair share of failures, including self-dealing and fraud. However, thanks to the vision of and marketing efforts of its businesses and political leaders, Anna Maria has been able to recover better than anywhere else in Southwest Florida.
One of the main reasons for the island’s success is that they can provide tourists with exactly what they want when it comes to vacations – short term rentals. No other island community in the area can provide as many homes and apartments for rent on a weekly basis as Anna Maria, and this supply of vacation rental properties does not only fuel the local tourism industry, but also construction.
“We are benefiting from a vacation rental perfect storm,” said Larry Chatt, Island Real Estate. “The whole nation is finding the value of renting homes and apartments with kitchens and more bedrooms, where they can cook meals and sleep more people at a lower cost than hotels. And Anna Maria just happens to have a lot.”
There are nearly 3,800 rental properties in Anna Maria Island, which represents about two-thirds of the island’s total number of properties. The number has steadily been rising from about 40% in recent years. The increase is mainly because more part-time residents see the value of covering their tax, insurance and mortgage costs by renting their places when they are not around.
As a property management software provider, we love to hear a community’s success story just like this one, and especially when a big part of the economic turnaround is due to vacation rentals. Vacation rentals are often seen as a way for a homeowner to make a little extra money on the side, and while that is true, vacation rentals can also help turn around the economy of an entire community. Therefore, we are a little shocked that some communities throughout the country are trying to impose different kinds of taxes and bans on short-term rentals.