Updated: Sep 4
This year, more than ever before, I’ve been contacted by people excited about putting a property out for short-term rentals, whether one they currently own or one they plan to buy as an investment. Especially since Oxford made headlines during August with Airbnb announcing that Oxford is #3 in Fall bookings for college towns and beach getaways, people with dollar signs in their eyes are eager to jump on the bandwagon.
I’m a Realtor who has managed short-term rentals in Oxford for far longer than I’ve been a Realtor. In fact, I started managing short-term rentals the same year that Airbnb was founded. I’ve seen a lot of trends in the short-term rental market since 2007. The Oxford market has especially changed, because I think back then we only had 3-4 hotels hotels and a handful of dedicated short-term rental properties.
When someone calls me all excited, I really don’t mean to be a party pooper, but I do want to inject a shot of reality before the reality hits them in the pocketbook. Take the recent Airbnb announcement, for example. Oxford is #3 in bookings this Fall for college towns and beach getaways. That means lots of people are coming to Oxford for football weekends. Football weekends (and Ole Miss Graduation) are now and always have been the most lucrative times for a short-term rental property owner in Oxford. Even with that, SEC weekends are the ones that completely sell out. Non-conference games like this year’s Troy and Central Arkansas are not generally sell outs. Tulsa is pretty much filled up for me, as the University has designated it Parents Weekend. The Egg Bowl, while an SEC game, has always been iffy for my rentals. The fact that it is an in-state game plus falling on a holiday means fewer people actually book a stay in Oxford.
Football weekends and Graduation don’t bring in enough income to sustain the property the rest of the year. I got into the short-term rental business by my husband and me buying properties to use as short-term rentals. Guess what? As we had more hotel rooms open up and the short-term rental market became more saturated, our rentals no longer could pay the bills. We sold the last of our units 5 years ago. Since then, my advice to property owners is this: if you’re going to have a property in Oxford for your own use and you want to make a little extra money to help with the bills, that’s the ideal situation.
There’s also an article in today’s Oxford Eagle about football season’s impact on Oxford tourism and the economy.
On the surface, it seems to support the idea that a short-term rental owner can make a ton of money. Kinney Ferris, our wonderful executive director of Visit Oxford, was interviewed. Pay very close attention:
“Oxford has around 1,300 hotel rooms, which Ferris says is enough to manage, outside of the few weekends per year where the hotels are at full capacity. The level of tourism production matches the available space for visitors.”
Note what that says—the hotel rooms we have are enough to manage the level of tourism, outside of the few weekends per year where the hotels are at full capacity. That is a trend I have seen since the beginning of my involvement with short-term rentals. Before short-term rentals were as popular as they are today, people would rarely book a short-term rental for a weekend stay unless they couldn’t find a hotel room.
Short-term rentals in Oxford are here to stay, but if you’re thinking of buying a property for an investment as a short-term rental, make sure you take a close look at all the numbers. I’m glad to talk with you about my perspective. And as always, I’m happy to help with any of your real estate buying and selling needs in Oxford and the surrounding area.
Edited 9/3/22: There is an article in The DM Online today regarding short-term rentals.
Reading it closely, it only re-emphasizes what I've said. In fact, one of the people interviewed stated that there is no shortage of people looking to enter the short term rental market as an owner or investor. Weekend rentals have gotten so popular, the market is becoming oversaturated.
So once again, if you are going to have a property in Oxford for your own use, but want to get some extra income via short-term rentals, and you're not going to be using your property on game weekends, that's the best scenario. You will make far less during the rest of the year.