Airbnb hosts in Charleston County made $55 million in 2018

306,000 people stayed in Airbnbs throughout Charleston in 2018

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New figures from Airbnb show that Charleston County hosts made a good bit of money from their spare bedrooms last year.

Earlier this month, the short-term rental company reported that a total of 695,000 South Carolina visitors booked some form of lodging through the app or website in 2018, bringing South Carolina's hosts a combined income of $111 million.
Short-term rentals were illegal in most parts of the city until April 2018, but some homeowners risked fines by offering their homes up on sites like Airbnb anyway. - AIRBNB SCREENSHOT
  • Airbnb screenshot
  • Short-term rentals were illegal in most parts of the city until April 2018, but some homeowners risked fines by offering their homes up on sites like Airbnb anyway.
Charleston County accounted for the largest portion of guests (306,000) and total host income ($54.9 million) than all other counties in the state. Horry County, home of Myrtle Beach, came in second with 131,000 guests and $19.2 million in host income, followed by Beaufort and Greenville counties.

Statewide, Airbnb says the "typical" income for hosts in 2018 was $7,500 each.



Thanks to a 2016 agreement with the S.C. Department of Revenue, Airbnb collects taxes on renters, sending the funds directly to the state. (Hosts get to keep 97 percent of their listing price, with the remaining three percent going to Airbnb. Taxes are levied on the renter on top of the full listing price.)

"The agreement allows Airbnb to collect and remit South Carolina state and local taxes on behalf of its hosts and deliver the revenue directly to DOR," the company notes.

The exact amount sent to the Department of Revenue is not yet available, according to a company spokesman. The DOR could not disclose the information as it relates to specific taxpayers, according to a spokesperson.

In April, the City of Charleston passed a law that set strict parameters for those renting their properties using services like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO. Residents must live in their properties full-time and remain on the premises while guests are there. In downtown Charleston's Old and Historic districts, homes must be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in order to qualify for a permit. Elsewhere in the city, homes must be at least 50 years old, a requirement meant to discourage opportunistic development.

As of last month, the city had issued 73 permits under the current short-term rental law. With the help of a software contractor, the city had removed 775 unqualified listings from various online platforms.

Charleston County has its own set of short-term rental rules, though they're far less strict.

The county has issued 14 short-term rental permits for properties in unincorporated Charleston County, according to spokesman Shawn Smetana.

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