How Short Term Rentals are Affecting Ocean Beach in 5 Charts

by on July 31, 2017 · 29 comments

in Ocean Beach

Colors represent VRBO, AirBnB, Flipkey, Homeaway, Tripadvisor, etc

By OB Planner

On social media, in news articles, and at City Council meetings on the topic of Short Term Vacation Rentals, a constant complaint has been the lack of meaningful data on the topic. Occasionally a map is highlighted, or members of Save San Diego Neighborhoods share data they have paid for on the issue. Other than that, the conversation is severely lacking useful data points. The City is playing catchup, and has not requested a detailed study by local economists.

Meanwhile Short Term Rental websites, like AirBnB and VRBO continue to closely guard information which is confusing local elected officials. Without data, we are asking our legislature to make decisions based on random anecdotal evidence. This is not how elected officials like to operate and AirBnB benefits from the confusion as they to continue to make money in a world without regulation.

This post and future related posts seek to answer the questions you have about the topic.

How Many Short Term Vacation Rentals Are There in Ocean Beach?

There are 547 short term vacation rentals operating in our little beach town, 87% of which are whole home rentals.


Do Short Term Rentals Really Add Lower Cost Visitor Accommodation?

The California Coastal Commission sees Short Term Rentals as an opportunity to increase “lower cost visitor accommodation” at the beaches up and down the coast. When Carlsbad tried to ban Short Term Rentals outright, the Coastal Commission stepped in to stop the ban in an effort to protect low cost places to stay. Local Whole Home AirBnBs might be a good deal for someone in the upper middle class, but do they really provide true low cost accommodations which make the coast more accessible for all California.

At average rates near $150 per night or more per room, the answer seems to be a resounding “no”.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie July 31, 2017 at 2:56 pm

The different colors in the top map represent VRBO, AirBnB, Flipkey, Homeaway, Tripadvisor, etc


triggerfinger July 31, 2017 at 4:55 pm

So what’s the point of all this?

Are you suggesting vacation rentals should be restricted to actual room/home shares?… and that the coastal commission might go for that idea?

How am I supposed to fit 25 people from my fraternity reunion party into a roomshare?


john July 31, 2017 at 10:25 pm

The point is the community is going to lose housing stock and permanent citizens. Losing long term stability and affordability creates niche market. Soon OB may be like Rosarito. The locals will not matter but the Tourist dollar will. Air BnB is a much bigger threat to San Diego than people realize.


Pat August 2, 2017 at 7:37 am

Every house that turns into an air BnB means I lose a neighbor — the house is just a hotel. And why do I want a string of frat parties by strangers in my residential neighborhood?


Rufus August 1, 2017 at 5:53 am

So if OB is turning into Rosarito, are we going to get a Senior Frogs?


john August 1, 2017 at 12:04 pm

No, but how about a Target?


Joseph Lazzaro August 1, 2017 at 1:06 pm

I think they should ban the air bnb stuff and i dont live in OB but it will just turn into cocoa beach florida which is all about tourist dollars now. OB is a great place nothing like it..once you let ut change it wont come back.


Oburntout August 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm

This article doesn’t have an author? What is the source of the data listed?


editordude August 1, 2017 at 2:06 pm

The author is a reliable source with multiple levels of understanding about planning, short term rentals, and has obviously being doing homework on those companies like Airbnb, who also wished to remain anonymous.


tessa August 1, 2017 at 1:54 pm

*price within ten miles. Meaning I could rent a cheaper hotel….10 miles away from where I actually want to be. That is kind of misleading, no? Of course it’s cheaper if you go 10 miles inland….


kh August 1, 2017 at 2:13 pm

10 miles might be the standard the coastal commission uses when determining if they feel like vetoing the actions of your local democratic process and forcing some mini hotels into your quaint neighborhood.


John Thickstun August 3, 2017 at 12:06 pm

An interesting question. Thank you.


jthickstun August 3, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Oops. Wrong comment. My reply is meant for question below.


kh August 1, 2017 at 2:48 pm

So if I want to buy a property in OB that has an airbnb on it, and knock it down to build a house and raise a family…. can the coastal commission turn down my permit because it’s reducing affordable visitor accommodations?


Aaron August 1, 2017 at 6:55 pm



John Thickstun August 3, 2017 at 12:09 pm

An interesting question. Thank you.


Monika Johnson August 1, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Hotel rooms at near by Shelter Island are going for $300.00 average. I would say $150.00 is a savings, plus one can usually cook saving more $$.


nostalgic August 1, 2017 at 3:34 pm

?If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.” –The Leopard.

OpenDSD on the city web site is a good place to start.


editordude August 1, 2017 at 8:29 pm

In looking at the graphs, click on the image for a larger version.


John Thickstun August 3, 2017 at 8:33 am

Thank you, Frank!


South OB Girl August 3, 2017 at 9:06 am

Thank you ‘OB Planner’ for your meticulous work here.


john nicksicWhy August 3, 2017 at 11:38 am

Any lawyers out there…
Why can’t Airbnb be held legally accountable for being the facilitator in the violation of city codes/condo CC&R’s?


jthickstun August 3, 2017 at 12:40 pm

They can be. The lawsuit referred to in this article is proceeding in LA Superior Court.


John Thickstun August 3, 2017 at 12:42 pm
nostalgic August 4, 2017 at 9:36 am

In Venice, Italy there are: 1300 visitors for every resident. The workers who support them live elsewhere, and an entire island is set aside to do hotel laundry, although some of the visitors are day-trippers, from the Italian equivalent of El Cajon.


John Thickstun August 4, 2017 at 10:37 am
Angel Trumpet August 6, 2017 at 6:55 pm

I like the graphs above and I think they show some very important information. But I wanted to kindly point out that the comparison of room rates above only apply to one room with single or double occupancy. It doesn’t apply to families (like mine) in which we are often required by the hotel to book 2 adjoining rooms per night (or suite) because we can’t all fit in one room (fire code). So as much as I would love to pay $150/night on hotel rooms it doesn’t exist for us. It’s more like $300-$400 per night for us (2 rooms) plus all the expensive hotel/restaurant food since we can’t cook. We have NEVER stayed in an STVR, only hotels.


kh August 7, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Fortunately for large families, Airbnb doesn’t care about fire codes, parking codes, zoning codes, etc and will let you pack 10 people into a small 2 bedroom cottage, or a family of 5 into someone’s bootlegged garage conversion. Hotels have to abide by the laws of the land. Airbnb gets a pass.

It’s inevitably apples and oranges. Like comparing prices on iphones sold at Best Buy vs some sketchy guy selling them out of the back of his van.


Tessa September 27, 2017 at 3:38 pm

The so-called “disruptor” economy is disrupting Ocean Beach alright…many formerly quiet neighborhoods are not pockmarked with frat houses – full of groups eager to have raucous parties and get-togethers with old buddies. What I don’t understand is why the crashing silence of people like Zapf? Isn’t she here to represent “us” as opposed to disruptor businesses?


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