Airbnb listings climb



BAR HARBOR— The number of rental properties in Bar Harbor on home sharing site Airbnb grew this year compared to last, according to data from the company.

But while there were more properties for renters to choose from, the overall number of visitors grew at a slower pace.

As of July 1 of this year, there were 460 Airbnb listings in Bar Harbor. That’s more than the 367 vacation rentals with permits from the town.

The number includes all listings registered with a Bar Harbor address, which includes rooms, apartments and single-family homes. Some businesses such as hotels and bed-and-breakfasts also list their properties on the site.

An Airbnb representative estimated there were “more than 200” listings here in the same time frame last year, so the number of listings more than doubled. But there was not a parallel increase in the number of visitors.

The number of visitors to Bar Harbor Airbnb rentals was up 31 percent, from 10,600 in 2018 to 13,900 this summer.

That was a slower pace of growth compared to the 2017 to 2018 period, which saw a 44 percent hike in summer visitors renting an Airbnb in the town.

Bar Harbor and Ellsworth still rank among the top five Airbnb destinations in the state, along with Portland, Old Orchard Beach and Wells.

Airbnb hosts in made more money this season overall than last.

According to Airbnb, hosts made a total of $3.7 million in Bar Harbor, up from $2.5 million last year.

Figures on what a typical host earned this summer were not yet available, said Liz DeBold Fusco, a representative for Airbnb, in an email.

Last summer, revenue for hosts was higher in both municipalities than the statewide average, with a typical Bar Harbor host bringing in just shy of $8,000, compared to $4,800 statewide.

Visitors also ventured elsewhere in Hancock County. Airbnb hosts countywide brought in a total of $11.5 million in rental income from the site this summer, with 51,900 guests. That was the third-highest income in the state, behind Cumberland and Franklin counties.

Bar Harbor has been grappling for years with the issue of how to regulate short-term rentals and provide affordable year-round housing for residents.

The Town Council boosted the registration fee for such rentals from a one-time $50 to an annual $250 to help cover the cost of enforcement and the required inspections of rental properties, but rejected a proposed moratorium on new short-term rentals.

Statewide, according to the recently-released data, 295,000 guests rented a room or property on Airbnb between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with hosts bringing in $55.7 million in overall revenue.

Kate Cough

Kate Cough

Kate covers the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. She lives in Southwest Harbor and welcomes story tips and ideas. She can be reached at kcough@ellsworthamerican.com.
Kate Cough

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