TREASURE COAST – Airbnb, an online “accommodation marketplace” that links travelers with private homes for short-term lodging, released a 2018 report showing that Florida hosts earned $810 million in income while welcoming approximately 4.5 million guests to the state.

Of Florida’s 67 counties, all three on the Treasure Coast finished 2018 in the middle of the pack. Martin County did best in dollars collected, earning $2.8 million in total 2018 host income from 12,500 guests. That ranked Martin County 26th in the state in income earned.

Next best on the Treasure Coast was St. Lucie County at number 32 in the state. St. Lucie County earned $2.4 million from 14,000 guests, which was the highest guest count in the region.

Indian River County finished at number 33 out of the 67 counties, collecting $1.9 million from 8,900 guests.

By comparison, the Florida county that made the most money from Airbnb in 2018 was Miami-Dade, with $204 million from 954,000 visitors, followed by Osceola with $82.6 million from 640,000 guests.

Statewide, over 45,000 Florida hosts use the Airbnb platform to rent rooms or entire homes, earning about $6,500 annually.

A search for Indian River County Airbnb rentals on Feb. 4 showed over 100 available. The average nightly price was $121. The most expensive found was an eight bedroom house in Vero Beach listed as both oceanfront and riverfront for $1,640 per night.

The least expensive Indian River County rental was a private room with one bed in a “cozy chic Vero bungalow” for $21 per night.

In St. Lucie County, also with over 100 available rentals, the most expensive we found was a two bedroom beachside condominium for $1,888 per night. The least expensive St. Lucie County rental was $20 per night for a “nice and cozy” private room in a Port St. Lucie home near Whispering Pines Park. In St. Lucie County, the average nightly price is $110.

Martin County had fewer rentals but a higher average price. In Martin County, the most expensive we found was $3,000 per night for a beach side, ocean view condo in Stuart Beach. Least expensive was a private room in a duplex near downtown Jensen Beach for $28 per night. In Martin County, the average nightly price is $140.

Airbnb says that home-sharing complements the hotel industry, rather than competing with it. According to a statement Airbnb sent to Hometown News, “The most recent state-commissioned report demonstrates that Florida hotel occupancy rates, daily prices and revenue have grown steadily even as local hosts welcomed millions of guests. This suggests that vacation rentals are opening up the state to a new slice of prospective tourists by catering to travelers less able to afford hotels, those who desire to stay in neighborhoods or cities that lack hotels, and families who prefer to be together under one roof.”

The company says that 932,000 Floridians use the Airbnb platform, either as hosts or as guests.

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