Mid-October’s return of tourism could not happen soon enough for Hawaii’s suffering vacation rental market. Hawaii Tourism Authority reports that vacation rental units were only 8.8% occupied during the month of September. With the holiday season approaching, hopefully those with vacation rentals will start to seem some positive returns.
According to HTA’s monthly Hawaii Vacation Rental Performance Report, the September, 2020 figure marks a 61 percentage point drop compared to the same month in 2019, when vacation rentals were nearly 70% occupied.
Hawaii vacation rentals also reported declines in other key metrics last month. Unit supply fell 52.5% to about 401,500 unit nights, while demand dropped 94% to about 35,400 unit nights. The average daily rate, or ADR, for a vacation rental unit was down nearly 40% year-over-year to $191.
For comparison, hotels statewide were 19.6% occupied last month, or 11.2% when calculated based on 2019 supply levels, with an ADR of $149.
Vacation rentals have been impacted by low travel demand amid Covid-19, as well as restrictions during the pandemic. Rules vary by island, and in September, short-term rentals — which include all rentals for less than 30 days — were not allowed to operate on Oahu. Legal short-term rentals were permitted on Hawaii Island, Kauai and in Maui County, as long as they were not being used as a quarantine location.
The report defines vacation rentals as “the use of a rental house, private room in private home, or shared room/space in private home,” but does not differentiate between permitted and unpermitted properties. The report utilizes data compiled by Transparent Intelligence, Inc. and is based on properties that are listed on Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway and TripAdvisor. This month’s report includes data for 14,955 units and 26,434 bedrooms.
Vacation rentals in all four counties experienced significant declines in key metrics, with Maui County seeing the largest decline in occupancy (down 69 percentage points to 5.4%). Although short-term rentals were not permitted to operate in Honolulu County, Oahu rentals still reported the highest occupancy rate (14.5%, a 59 percentage point drop year-over-year).
Year-to-date, unit supply statewide was down 39% and unit demand fell by 63%, resulting in an occupancy rate of 45.5%, a 39 percentage point drop compared to the same period last year. ADR year-to-date fell 16% to $239.