What is the impact of tourism on Southwest Florida’s rental market? 

vacation, couple on the beach near swimming pool, luxury travel

By Brian Rodgers 

The Sunshine State, specifically Southwest Florida, is one of the most sought-after vacation spots in the nation. Tourists from across the country, and the world, flock to our beaches each and every year for some fun in the sun, nature, good food, golf, entertainment, shopping and more. 

Many of these short-term visitors and seasonal snowbirds are occupying homes that are also of interest among long-term renters, dramatically increasing the demand for rental properties. Rental properties offer a steady flow of income and valuable tax advantages. It’s a smart financial move that provides investors with the opportunity to diversify their income sources and build long-term wealth. With the promise of passive income, attractive tax benefits, and the potential for long-term appreciation, becoming a landlord has become an enticing prospect for many. 

According to MLS data from March 2024, there were roughly 5.2 months of housing supply in the Cape Coral and Fort Myers region.  

Additionally, the impact of tourism on Southwest Florida’s rental market has more to do with just housing. The demand for short-term and seasonal rentals has fueled a competitive market, prompting property owners to invest in property upgrades and amenities to attract more visitors. Enhancing curb appeal, a fresh coat of paint, renovating bathrooms and kitchens – all upgrades that owners are undertaking in the battle for renters. 

The economic benefits generated by tourism can generate growth in the local rental market. Increased tourism often leads to job creation, which drives demand for housing among the workforce. This can result in a varied rental market, offering a range of options for both short-term vacationers and long-term residents. 

This surge in vacation and seasonal rentals has brought financial benefits to property owners and has evolved into new businesses as well. Short-term rental businesses need property managers, cleaners, repair people, etc. Major property management companies have evolved that cater exclusively to rentals. 

Also, the revenue generated from tourism-related and seasonal activities can contribute to local infrastructure development and community projects. Investments in public amenities and services can enhance the overall quality of life for residents, making Southwest Florida an attractive place to live, work and visit. 

While the uptick in short-term vacation rentals brings financial gains to property owners, it also raises concerns about housing availability and affordability for residents. Striking a balance between catering to the tourism industry and preserving the community’s long-term housing needs is crucial for the sustainable development of Southwest Florida. 

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About the Author 

Brian Rodgers is owner and qualifying broker for Worthington Realty, a boutique real estate company specializing in residential sales, rentals and development across Southwest Florida. For more information, call 239-437-3334, email info@worthingtonrealty.com or visit WorthingtonRealty.com.

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About Worthington Realty

Founded in 1989, Worthington Realty is a boutique real estate company specializing in residential sales, rentals and development, predominantly within Lexington Country Club in Fort

Myers and surrounding communities. For more information, please call 239-437-3334 or email info@ftmyersrents.com.