Business is booming for Osceola County vacation rental homes

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The numbers show that 2020 was a down year for tourism travel, and Central Florida felt the impact financially as tens of millions of tourism tax dollars were lost.

What You Need To Know

  •  Central Florida lost tens of millions of tourism tax dollars due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020
  •  While most of the area’s businesses are still on the rebound, experts say vacation rentals in Osceola County are thriving
  • So far, vacation rentals are doing better than 2019, before the pandemic hit, despite being down about 10,000 homes

As Central Florida continues to rebound, the vacation rental business in Osceola County is thriving. Not only is business going well, but even better than 2019 pre-pandemic numbers.

It’s happening with even less vacation home rentals available — in 2019, nearly 50,000 homes were available, now there are only 40,000.

For seven years Aowei Yin has been managing vacation rental home properties. Five of those most recent years have been in Kissimmee. Currently he manages about 100 properties at the Villas at Seven Dwarfs in Kissimmee, which from Christmas week to April of next year is nearly fully booked.

Situations like that are a complete 180 from a year ago when revenues took a big hit.

“When people realized I could not travel anymore revenues went down,” Yin said. “It reduced down to $57 million, thats about $80 millions lost.”

Yin is basing his data from AIR DNA. 

“They get all the information from Airbnb and Vrbo, those major web-sites,” Yin says.

According to Experience Kissimmee, vacation homes have out stayed and out payed hotels since the beginning of the year.

Vacation homes are also generating more than 50{3e92bdb61ecc35f2999ee2a63f1e687c788772421b16b0136989bbb6b4e89b73} of the tourism tax dollars month after month since the start of the year.

“We were 90 to 95{3e92bdb61ecc35f2999ee2a63f1e687c788772421b16b0136989bbb6b4e89b73} booked for vacation home rentals, with most of those locations being sold out,” Experience Kissimmee Chief Marketing Officer Casey Leppanen said. “We are seeing the same thing for Christmas and New Years, so all signs are pointing too, hate to say it, best year ever.”

In 2020, Yin said people who owned a vacation home in his community lost about $10,000 to $20,000. But in 2021, everyone’s been a winnerm he said.

“Depends on the design, how many days available but if you are talking about the revenue its’ about $30 to $50 thousand for a four bedroom,” Yin said.

Thanksgiving week hotels in Osceola County, according to Experience Kissimmee, were at 83{3e92bdb61ecc35f2999ee2a63f1e687c788772421b16b0136989bbb6b4e89b73} occupancy. Vacation rental homes were nearly fully booked at 95{3e92bdb61ecc35f2999ee2a63f1e687c788772421b16b0136989bbb6b4e89b73}. 

“Not back to normal, better than normal,” Yin said.

In the past year, Central Florida has also seen a boom in the real estate market. At The Villas at Seven Dwarfs in 2019, the average unit that was listed for sale sold for $170,000, this year their average sale price is $250,000. 

Maria Flores

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