Glenwood’s vacation rental market continues to grow
A recent snapshot of the Glenwood Springs area’s vacation rental market provides a glimpse at the ever-growing business sector as the industry becomes more and more regulated.
Glenwood Springs officials over the past year have formalized the process to legitimize vacation rentals and collect local lodging taxes.
Any property owner within city limits who lists a residential unit as a vacation rental at places like airbnb.com and HomeAway.com (formerly vrbo.com) or elsewhere, is now required to go through a permitting process with the city.
Average daily rate for vacation rentals in the Glenwood Springs area between December 2018 and May 2019.
Average daily revenue from vacation rentals in the Glenwood area between November 2018 and July 2019. The average daily revenue for July alone was $3,752.
Combined number of short-term vacation rentals and accessory tourist rentals (single room in a house, or accessory unit to a primary residence), currently permitted within Glenwood Springs city limits.
Initial short-term rental permit fee in Glenwood Springs city limits, with a $300 renewal fee every two years.
Percent of Glenwood Springs-area vacation rentals that involve one-bedroom units. Another 23% are two-bedroom, 18% are three-bedroom and 11% are four-bedroom.
Source: Combination of airdna.co data and recent city of Glenwood Springs statistics.
Earlier this summer, new permit fees, building inspection requirements and limits on the percentage of Glenwood’s residential units that can be designated as vacation rentals were enacted.
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Vacation rentals outside city limits in unincorporated Garfield County are not required to adhere to the new rules.
According to Glenwood Springs Senior Planner Hannah Klausman, as it stands, the city now has a total of 138 short-term rental permits outside the downtown core area, and 16 within the boundaries of the city’s downtown general improvements district (GID).
The new rules limit the number of short-term rentals permitted outside of the GID to 7 percent of the city’s free-market units, which would allow approximately 209 permits based on the city’s current housing stock. There must also be 250 feet of separation between permitted short-term rentals.
Within the downtown GID, 18 percent of free-market units may include short-term rentals, which equates to roughly 33 permits, based on the new rules.
Since the new ordinance was adopted in late June, “We have had one previously permitted property fall out due to the sale of the property,” Klausman said.
“Permits are non-transferrable, so at point of sale this property’s permit became void. The new regulations of the 250 foot buffer distance then made this property ineligible for a permit.”
The city also allows for single bedrooms within an occupied residential unit, and accessory dwelling units, to be rented on a short-term basis as “accessory tourist units.” The city currently has 21 such permitted units, Klausman said.
“Our main review of permits will occur at the end of this permit cycle that expires Dec. 31, so there will likely be a few more properties that sold, or are no longer functioning as vacation rentals,” she added. “Some naturally drop off, and there will probably be a few more that are removed due to the new regulations …”
The city’s permit renewal period for all existing vacation unit permit holders begins Oct. 1.
According to the vacation rental database airdna.co, there are currently 230 active vacation rentals in the greater Glenwood Springs area listed on airbnb.com and HomeAway.com alone. Of those, 44% are listed on airbnb and 26% on HomeAway. Another 30% are listed on both sites.
The Glenwood Springs area is defined as the city limits, as well as the surrounding area extending west to Canyon Creek, east to No Name and Spring Valley, and south to Aspen Glen.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected from the original online and print version to reflect the true number of permitted accessory tourist units (ATUs) in Glenwood Springs after an incorrect number was provided by the city. The city has 21 permitted ATUs. Also, City Council on final reading of the vacation rentals ordinance in July changed the percent of residential units outside the GID boundaries that could be permitted as short-term rentals, from 7% to 5%
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Council’s decision to suspend short-term lodging operations not only applies to vacation rentals, but hotels, motels and other forms of accommodation for 30 days or less – with some exceptions.