The Vacation Rental Market Is Strong in Puerto Rico and Florida, but Has Negative Consequences for Local Residents

Rentals - Florida - Puerto Rico

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By Mivette Vega

February 22, 2023

Vacation rentals are popular in both places, but the proliferation of these businesses is displacing residents.

Florida and Puerto Rico’s weather and beaches have made them attractive places for the short-term vacation rental industry, as several rankings show.

Florida broke tourism records in 2022, according to state data. The Sunshine State received 137.6 million visitors for the year, an increase of 13% from 2021, and 5% from pre-pandemic 2019.

RELATED: Vacation Rentals Are Booming in Puerto Rico. Here Are the Pros and Cons of This Growing Industry.

The US ranks number one in worldwide listings, according to data from BNB Vestor, an analytics service for short-term and vacation rental investment property.

And Florida is number one in listings in the nation, with 202,542 units. California follows with 161,634.

Within the state, Osceola ranks first in the number of listings with 24,957, followed by Miami Dade (21,488), and Broward (16,980).

In terms of average monthly revenue, Florida ranks 13, according to data from AirDNA, a provider of data and analytics on the short-term rental industry. A host in Florida can earn an annual average of $28,892.

Vacation Rentals in Puerto Rico

Last week, Airbnb, the short-term rental platform, revealed that Puerto Rico ranks first in the number of superhosts out of 200 countries. 

Puerto Rico has 41% of all superhosts. The US follows with 34%, Korea with 30%, and the United Kingdom with 28%.

The platform’s superhost program rewards the most experienced and best-rated Airbnb hosts. Superhosts are more likely to earn a higher income than regular hosts.

The average superhost in Puerto Rico earns nearly 30% more than a regular host.

However, the island ranks 24 in average listing earnings at $24,513 annually, according to AirDNA.

No todo es color de rosa

Both in Florida and Puerto Rico this type of short-term rental has been surrounded by controversy.

In Florida, studies have proven that these types of properties have worsened the state’s housing crisis, making it even more difficult for Floridians to find an affordable place to live.

The same thing is happening in Puerto Rico, mainly in the San Juan area.

However, recently the geographer and federal data analyst Norberto Quiñones Vilches told journalist Sandra Rodríguez Cotto that Anthony Pierluisi, son of Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, dominates the short-term rental industry on the island with his company, West Indies Vacation Rentals.

In San Juan alone, Pierluisi owns 88 units. Around the island, his company owns almost 200 units in places like Cabo Rojo and Lajas.

“This is already out of control. How is there just one company, West Indies Vacation Rentals, with 88 Airbnbs just in San Juan? Now the government has to regulate this system, allow properties under platforms such as AirBnB in tourist areas only, or not let limited liability companies or ‘LLC’ buy homes in residential areas. There are solutions, but there are many economic interests that do not allow the change to be made,” Quiñones told Rodríguez Cotto.

RELATED: House Democrats Blast DeSantis Over Affordable Housing Crisis

Some of these properties have been promoted by the island’s tourism company, Discover Puerto Rico. Adrián González, secretary of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), requested an investigation to determine if public funds were used.

“With the famous visitor economy, we are changing the country to make it a place not where we live, but one where we can no longer live. They are making it a country where others visit us and the money does not stay here. And the governor’s family is very close to these corporations that are monopolizing the business. It is the government serving as a tool to displace Puerto Ricans and create unfair competition,” González said.


  • Mivette Vega

    Mivette Vega is a seasoned journalist and multimedia reporter whose stories center the Latino community. She is passionate about justice, equality, environmental matters, and animals. She is a Salvadorrican—Salvadorian that grew up in Puerto Rico—that has lived in San Juan, Venice, Italy, and Miami.



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