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Commercial Airbnbs cost Thompson-Okanagan renters hundreds of extra dollars every month

Image Credit: Airbnb Grant Powell

The average renter is paying more than $400 extra each year in the Thompson-Okanagan because half the short-term rentals in the region that are run by businesses.

That’s one of the conclusions of a recently released research paper funded by the BC Hotel Association.

“The 2,260 commercial short-term Rentals in the Thompson-Okanagan region are responsible for the average renter household’s rent having increased by an estimated $34 per month over the course of 2022,” the report, called ‘The Housing Impacts of Short-Term Rentals in British Columbia’s Regions,’ says.

That works out to $408 per year. 

The report defines commercial rentals as those that are not the host’s principal residence so they are, more or less, rented out full time.

The average of $34 per month in higher rents is for the region as a whole. Costs are not broken down by region but a report that went to Penticton City Council in May said that ranges from about $28 per month in Penticton to $172 per month in Kelowna.

READ MORE: Airbnb may be good for tourists but at a cost to Okanagan residents

That generally means those homes are taken out of the long term rental pool. These commercial units make up about half of the 4,960 short term rentals in the region.

Income isn’t broken down by region but, in BC as a whole, 10% of the hosts earned 48.8% of all the revenue and just the top 1% brought in 20.7% of the revenue.

The study, conducted by the School of Urban Planning at McGill University, forecasts another $24 per month rent increase province-wide over the next year, given the rapid rate of increase in the number of units rented on platforms like Airbnb.

READ MORE: Kelowna set to crack down on short-term rentals

In June there were 28,510 active listings in BC with 21,700 different hosts, up 17.8% from June 2022 and ahead of pre-COVID levels in 2019.

There were 4,960 listings in the Thompson-Okanagan with 1,410 in Kelowna, 480 in West Kelowna, 390 in Penticton, 220 in Vernon and 160 in Kamloops.

The study estimates that, over that one-year period, 340 properties were taken out of the long-term rental pool in the region, including 130 in Kelowna, 30 each in West Kelowna, Penticton and Sun Peaks, 20 in Kamloops and 10 in Vernon.

The full report can be seen here.

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