Since January 2021, the number of active short-term rentals in the Chapel Hill area has increased by about 40 percent.
In June 2021, the Chapel Hill Town Council passed a resolution regulating STRs such as Airbnb and VRBO within town limits. These regulations require zoning compliance permits, occupancy limits and parking restrictions. They also limit units that are only used for STRs to mixed-use and commercial zoning districts.
Dec. 23 was the deadline for all STRs to come into compliance with these resolutions, or they would have had to return to residential use or become long-term rental units. Despite these new regulations, the number of STRs continues to grow, with nine new Airbnbs opening in Chapel Hill in the last quarter of 2022.
There are 339 active STRs in the Town, according to the most recent information from AirDNA, which analyzes STR data. About 80 percent of these are entire home rentals and about 20 percent are private rooms.
The average daily rate is lowest in March at $146, highest in May at $183 and the median monthly revenue is lowest in January and highest in April. Occupancy rates are also lowest in January at 53 percent, and highest in July at 75 percent.
UNC senior Parisa Vahid used Airbnb to find a place to live during the spring and fall semesters in 2021.
“I started looking at Airbnb because it was during COVID, and I was moving back to Chapel Hill in the spring and did not have a place to stay,” Vahid said in a written statement.
She said she knew that subleasing would be difficult because of COVID-19, so a friend suggested that she look on Airbnb.
For the spring semester of 2021, Vahid signed a contract through Airbnb and received a long-term stay discount. In the fall of 2021, Vahid was able to sign a lease agreement with the host through Airbnb.