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Pawleys Island, South Carolina Tops List as Best Place to Buy Beach House for Short-term Rentals

Oceanfront beach house rental.

Pawleys Island, South Carolina: The Best Spot to Buy a Beach House for Short-term Rentals

Why Pawleys Island?

Pawleys Island, South Carolina, affectionately referred to as “arrogantly shabby”, has topped the charts as the best city in the United States to buy a beach house to use as a short-term rental property, according to new rankings from a real estate website Realtor.com and AirDNA, a vacation rental analytics company.

With an expanding market full of short-term vacation rentals through Airbnb and VRBO, the traditional hospitality market previously dominated by hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts is now within reach of everyday homeowners. Yet, where is the short-term rental market most profitable?

Ranking Factors

The report considered several factors including the median home prices, expected yields from rental properties, average annual rental revenue, and regulations on short-term rental properties. The expected yield was calculated by dividing potential revenue by median home value. However, the report cautioned that even with high yields, strict short-term rental regulations could pose hurdles in renting out a beach house.

Town’s Appeal and Proposed Regulations

Pawleys Island, known for attracting throngs of vacationers in the summer and snowbirds in the winter, stood out as the prime choice. However, property owners seeking to invest should also be abreast with the local regulations. A proposed amendment for Georgetown City Council zoning ordinance may require property owners to acquire a business license and a special permit. This amendment aims to cap the number of permits at 250, limiting the market potential.

Initial fees for this permit are proposed to be $500 for owners offering the entire house for rent, and $250 for homeowners residing in the house while renting a portion of it. In addition, all property owners will have to pay annual renewal fees for the permit.

Top 10 Places to Buy a Beach House for Rent

The report also highlighted other top-ranking cities throughout the East Coast, West Coast, Gulf Coast, and even in the Midwest. The top contenders are as follows:

  1. Pawleys Island, South Carolina
  2. Michigan, East Coast
  3. Cape San Blas, Florida
  4. Gulfport Biloxi, Mississippi
  5. Wilmington, Delaware
  6. Lincoln City/Newport, Oregon
  7. Greys Harbor, Washington
  8. Outer Banks, North Carolina
  9. Corpus Christi, Texas
  10. Gulf Shores, Alabama

These cities were ranked based on a combination of median home price, annual revenue potential, and expected yield. While Pawleys Island secured the top spot, location plays a crucial role in determining potential revenue and profitability.

Takeaway

The rise of short-term rental platforms has undoubtedly opened up lucrative opportunities for homeowners. However, it’s crucial to consider various factors like yield, local regulations, seasonal factors, and tourism appeal before investing in a beach house for rental purposes. As shown in this analysis, Pawleys Island offers an attractive balance of these aspects, making it the top choice for short-term beach house rentals.


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