A new study from the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute is not exactly uplifting news. The Deseret News reports that nearly 43% of the housing units in Park City in 2020 were short-term rentals, which consists of Airbnb, VRBO, and other vacation rental companies. While a percentage wasn’t given for 2021, the number of short-term rental units rose again in Park City. The Utah mountain town is arguably the winter sports hub of the state, with Park City Mountain, Deer Valley Resort, the Utah Olympic Park, and Woodward Park City all in close proximity. The only bright side is that Park City isn’t in the middle of nowhere. The growing Heber City is only a couple of minutes away, and Salt Lake City is just a relatively quick drive down I-80(albeit a gas guzzler going up and down that freeway each day). Unfortunately, both Heber and Salt Lake are seeing rapidly rising home and rental prices and new rental inventory is shifting towards the luxury side.
What can the town of Park City do to fix this mess? Vail Resorts’ soon-to-open employee housing complex at the Canyons Village will certainly help, but it’s not enough. They could also try capping the number of short-term rentals or have future home buyers contractually agree to not rent it out, but I’m not sure how feasible this would be. One thing the city should look into is the proposed Brown Ranch project, which is aiming to add thousands of affordable housing units to Steamboat Springs. Unfortunately, I think the continued growth of luxury units and short-term rentals in Park City is likely to continue.
— Dejan Eskic (@EskicDejan) June 29, 2022