Short Term Vacation Rentals – the Numbers Don’t Look Good for Ocean Beach

by on December 6, 2017 · 21 comments

in Ocean Beach

The numbers of vacation rentals in Ocean Beach don’t look good.

Numbers compiled by the group Save San Diego Neighborhoods were announced at the recent rally against short term vacation rentals in OB – and the crowd was not pleased.

For the month of October, OB had 387 total AirBNB listings (source AirDNA from October) and of these, 325 were listed as whole units.

The same month, VRBO had 212 listings (source VRBO).

A couple of smaller sites, such as Nancy with 6 (source her website) and Jonah Mechanic with 6 add to the total (neither Nancy or Jonah  list on AirBNB because they have their own sites).

So we have a total of 549 whole unit listings from AirBNB, VRBO, Nancy and Jonah in this study by SSDN.

Now, these figures are from the 92107 zip code areas, which SANDAG estimates has a population of 29,533.

The OB Planning Area, however is smaller – and has about 13,600 residents.

And in comparison, members of the OB Planning Board sub-committee on short term rentals came up with the number of 547 short term vacation rentals operating in our little beach town, 87% of which are whole home rentals, and that’s the OB Planning Area. The sub-committee came up with this figure, after cross-checking rentals in the various online sites.

According to the OB Planning Board with 7600 dwelling units in the community, vacation rentals account for 6% – which is significant.

Depending on what figures and numbers you use, vacation rentals make up 4% of the total housing units in OB.

But which ever numbers you use – 4% to 6% is still huge, considering the very tight long term rental market.

It’s all coming down at the City Council hearing on vacation rentals on Tuesday, December 12th, when they meet at 10 am in Golden Hall (not Council Chambers).

For more, see these:


{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Marc Snelling December 7, 2017 at 6:42 am

Is the boom in short term vacation rentals a product of short term thinking?


Frank Gormlie December 7, 2017 at 10:25 am

Nancy Kramer of Nancy Vacation Rentals wrote:

“Based on what the OB Planning Board told you since you, listed them as your source, you have erroneously printed:

“A couple of smaller sites, such as Nancy with 6 (source her website) and Jonah Mechanic with 6 add to the total (neither Nancy or Jonah list on AirBNB because they have their own sites).”

First of all, I DO advertise all of them separately on BOTH VRBO and Airbnb, plus HomeAway, and TripAdvisor. So in counting both VRBO ads and Airbnb ads and my website, you just counted my properties as 18 instead of 6.

I am sure it’s the same for Jonah. We both advertise on all the major sites, as do most people, so your numbers are WAY OFF. The number is probably half of what the OB Planning Board has provided and you do not apparently do any fact checking! Responsibly, you should print a correction.

Secondly, I manage one building with 5 rentals in it, all owned by the same two local men (a partnership). And I have one home in Sunset Cliffs that belongs to a local woman. No out of state or country big time “investors.” Responsible local people with one real estate investment each, planning ahead for their retirement. “


Frank Gormlie December 7, 2017 at 10:27 am

Even if we subtract – let’s say 24 (12 for you, 12 for Jonah) – from the total of 549, we still have 525 vacation rentals – and that’s still a lot. Too many.


Christo December 7, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Nancy is running multiple hotels in residentially zoned neighborhoods- reducing our quality of life to pad her pocket book.

If she wants to work at the Marriott- she should go work at the Marriott.


Nancy Kramer December 7, 2017 at 8:32 pm

Kevin, you seem to think you know all about me but you don’t. I have a home in Julian which I love but I don’t get to spend much time there as you can imagine with 56 rentals to be responsible for. I spend about 5 days a week in La Jolla at my 90 year old mother’s house and running around to my 56 rentals to make sure everything is well maintained and perfect for our guests.
Some of those tax certificates are old and are properties that are no longer under my management.

Yes, under the new proposal I would have to start renting 3 of my personally owned 4-plex as long term rentals again after about 10 years of operating them as short term rentals. The income is about the same either way. It’s just that I find the short term guests to be better, quieter neighbors than the students are and they pay their rent 30 days before they arrive so I have not had to go to small claims court in 10 years! And they get cleaned and maintained on a weekly or monthly basis instead of being negatively surprised at the condition after it’s turned back over to me after a couple years. I also have 3 long term rentals so now I will have 6 long term rentals. We are OK with these proposals because we are willing to compromise, something that the red shirts do not seem to understand and which is why you will lose this battle.
One thing you are NOT accounting for is that the majority of my rentals (not the OB 5-plex) are people’s beautifully furnished second homes. They do NOT want to rent them out long term because they would not be able to use them which was why they purchased them in the first place. Almost none of these break even for the owners but they don’t care because it’s their second home. You are counting them as possible long term rentals but they are privately owned, personal second homes that belong to families and they let me rent them out when they are not using them. So how do you account for those?


Kathy December 11, 2017 at 3:09 am

Nancy, you’re recognized as a “TOP HOST” in San Diego on Airbnb’s website …
#3 Nancy’s Vacation Rentals = 54
#2 Bluewater Vacation Homes = 61
#1 Seabreeze Vacation Rentals = 171

See this.

With the following distinction …
“Hosts with multiple listings are more likely to be running a business, are unlikely to be living in the property, and in violation of most short term rental laws designed to protect residential housing.”

You’re a property management company that advertises on Airbnb, VRBO & others …
Ocean Beach = 7
LaJolla = 1
Mission Bay = 18
Mission Beach = 13 (some duplicates listed in Mission Bay)
Pacific Beach = 35

Not saying you’re doing anything illegal, just capitalizing on the growing market of short term vacay rentals, a business you were in long before VRBO & Airbnb became popular. It’s a shame the spirit of home share at a personal level with a property owner as intended, was lost along the way and evolved into a business that displaces hard working people who can no longer afford to live here.


retired botanist December 7, 2017 at 11:30 am

Yep, 525 dwellings unavailable to me or anyone else for long-term rental. Maybe if the whole STVR industry was a little more transparent it wouldn’t be so difficult to get more accurate figures. And here we go again with “But I’m different/I’m responsible… but thanks for the clarification, Nancy.


kevin December 7, 2017 at 12:14 pm

From my research, only 45% of the VRBO listings are unique, the rest are also on Airbnb.

Other sites can pretty much be ignored. Only 4% of the TripAdvisor listings are unique, and most operators with their own sites also list on Airbnb/VRBO.


387 + 45% x 212 = 482 listings
325 + 45% x 212 = 420 whole-home listings

All VRBOs are whole-homes, they don’t do room listings. Also about 10-15% of the whole-home listings are home-swaps which don’t displace residents and would be allowed under the Bry/Zapf proposal.

So my estimate is that vacation rentals are removing about 4-5% of our housing stock. Primarily these are lowest cost housing units in the “war zone”. In Mission Beach the number is closer to 40%, so it shows you that we aren’t even close to saturation, and property here is much cheaper for an investor to get into then MB.


1. STVRs (full time, whole-home) remove housing stock, thus increasing demand for remaining housing.

2. Commercial profitability increases property values, which increases going rent price, increases real estate speculation/turnover, and incentivizes redevelopment, replacing older housing with mcmansions mini-hotels.

3. Increased housing costs may drive more residents here and other parts of SD to add more vacation rentals to supplement their income. A vicious cycle.

Nancy’s Vacation Rentals, Inc. has 63 vacation rental tax certificates filed with the City of San Diego.

Under the Ward/Sherman proposal, only 3 of them would be subject to the “3 STVR per person” limit. This is because the STVRs she operates are owned by numerous people. And for those 3 she can easily get around the restriction by listing one of her employees as the responsible party.

Under the Bry/Zapf proposal, 61 of her STVRs would be shut down and forced to be used for long-term housing. (There’s a slim chance that 2 of them are home-swaps, so I excluded those.) She would be out of business, so I’m certain she will be at the city council meeting on Tuesday wearing her red shirt trying her best to steer the future of our beach neighborhoods.

And Nancy doesn’t even live in San Diego. Her commercial operation is the perfect case study for this issue, and highlights why the Ward/Sherman proposal is such a giveaway. So thank you Nancy for chiming in.

Now can we debate how many deck chairs were on the Titanic when it sank?


kevin December 7, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Sorry I mean green shirt…. the color the “sharing economy” folks will be wearing while they try and side-track the meeting with their red-herring argument about home sharing which nobody is opposed to.


OB Gal December 7, 2017 at 5:52 pm

I think what Nancy is referring to is that those that own STVR cross-post on both AirBnB and VRBO so you would need to make sure that you aren’t double counting the properties. Did you go through every listing to check if they were cross-posted? That would provide more accurate data.


retired botanist December 7, 2017 at 7:22 pm

Wow, Kevin’s summary is illuminating. So now we have Pedro’s argument about the “quality” of STVR maintenance and just how far away the owner lives, we have Mr. Decker’s parsing of the “percentages of a property” that is used for STVR, and we have Nancy’s argument of “duplicative advertising”, “only six”, and “just responsible planning ahead for retirement”.
Not that I needed further convincing, but I’m glad these owners and operators have clarified their stories because each has shown me, without a doubt, the attitudes of the people engaged in this business…
Its just all about them, isn’t it? Not one has countered with a single rebuttal of how these rentals contribute in any positive way to the residential neighborhoods in which they’re squatting. Ugh.


RB December 8, 2017 at 9:12 am

Every property sale and every increase in property price dramatically increases property taxes for the schools and local government. Higher taxes are a positive contribution. If the communities rather than the city’s general fund got the fees and taxes from STVR, support from inland city council members would evaporate…..


Chris December 9, 2017 at 8:58 am

Seems like a good compromise would be to restrict AIRBNB (or similar services) to people who actually live in unit, be it a house or apartment. For renters this could help them offset the cost of already high rents and for home owners a very expensive mortgage. Not to mention there’s a fair # of military personnel living in OB who are away a lot, and still have to pay their rent or mortgage even while on long deployments. The part that should be eliminated are owners who use the property solely as a STVR.


kevin December 9, 2017 at 9:48 am

That’s precisely one of the proposals being considered on Tuesday.

Airbnb and their minions hate it because it will hurt their business model.


fur.ever December 12, 2017 at 4:45 pm

Chris ~ That is a great plan.
I’m fairly certain those are the rules / laws now – sadly, they are just not enforced.


Data December 9, 2017 at 4:17 pm

According to the Host Compliance report that the VOSD published this week there are 507 STR in OB. This accounts for the duplicate listings. Not that far off (i.e. within 10%) of the original 549 number in the article. 88% are whole home.

Here is the article : There is a link you can click to request a copy of the report


Bart October 1, 2019 at 1:24 pm

If we can’t get police protection for more serious crimes, who’s going to be monitoring any of the violations? Rules can be great if they can be enforced.

I like the idea of owners being limited to a certain number of STVR properties/condo’s (2) . They should live close to the property, so they can deal with violations.

I understand that some people do this for a living. I also understand that we need long term renters to fulfill service needs. Whatever housing is built now could easily turn into STVR, so no help at all, unless rules are in place. Maybe included in the deed.


Nancy October 1, 2019 at 2:44 pm

This is Nancy. Your numbers are way off because almost everyone who advertises on Airbnb also advertise on VRBO/HomeAway so by counting both you are inflating your numbers by 100% or more because , yes, we have our own website but we also advertise on both of those sites along with a few others. We probably get half of our guests from VRBO/HomeAway and 25% from Airbnb and the other 25% are return guests that book on our website once they know us. If you are going to write in a newspaper, you should try to know what you are talking about first. Also, at least half of our rentals are 1-5 months long. They are traveling nurses and others here on business for a few months and retirees who want to get out of the cold winters where they live. Where would all these people stay if there were no furnished rentals? These are people working and living in OB for extended periods of time but not long enough to want to take a lease on an unfurnished rental. The economy is changing. Millennials are not putting down roots but choosing to work remotely from wherever they want, possibly trying to figure out where they want to settle down later by trying out living there first. We are getting more and more guests requesting 1-6 month stays in furnished rentals.


Frank Gormlie October 1, 2019 at 4:14 pm

And you, Nancy, are making more and more money off of our decreasing housing stock. Thanks a lot! And thanks for commenting on a 2-year old article.


kh October 1, 2019 at 5:03 pm

I’ve worked closely with the planning board on this. Their numbers do not include duplicate listings, the various websites were cross-checked. There are differences in counts because it’s very dynamic and because the host platforms go out of their way to conceal the property information and counts.

Whole home STVRs in Ocean Beach have now grown to approximately 7% of our rental housing inventory.

If STVRs are nothing to be bothered about, then why are you concerned about how many there are? Or are you saying a high number of vacation rentals is a bad thing? How much is too much?


retired botanist October 1, 2019 at 4:36 pm

Nancy- really? Seriously? THAT is your justification?! Traveling nurses and retirees who need furnished quarters? I counter your statements: “The economy is changing”, so that is your rationale for destroying residential communities and robbing people who actually WORK, and have children within the community, to have affordable rental space?!
My Dad, many years ago, had a phrase about self-centered, profit-driven people. “I got mine, Charlie, how about you?”
Sounds like you got your’s, Nancy…


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