Airbnb hosts in the Cape Fear rake in millions


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Short-term rentals like those offered on Airbnb have been a hot topic across the Port City for several years now. Many people oppose them, but just as many support them.

So just how much do hosts make? Well, according to Airbnb, last year hosts made nearly $11 million across the Cape Fear Region.

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“What it means is it’s like any other industry here in Wilmington it’s bringing in tax dollars it’s bringing in visitors,” Wilmington Host Committee Chairman, Harry Smith said.

Hosts in Brunswick County made $2.5 million, in Pender County they made $720,000 and in New Hanover County $7.5 million. As for Wilmington, hosts made $3.8 million.

“The advantage of short term rentals over long term rentals is is that people are bringing in money,” Smith said. “There is extra tax dollars.”

Short-term rentals have caused quite the controversy across Wilmington for several years now, sparking meetings and proposed regulations for those renting out rooms.

Many are against the idea for various reasons, while many like Smith are in support of Airbnbs.

“Never had any of the problems they advertised in these meetings of party central and stuff,” Smith said. “Most of the people are well traveled, they’re good people that just want to experience a local experience. ”

In 2017 Airbnb brought in 56,200 people to New Hanover County, 16,800 to Brunswick County, 4,900 to Pender County, and 34,800 guests to Wilmington.

Large numbers local Airbnb hosts are happy about.

“If I want to rent out one room of my house to somebody that wants to come to Wilmington and visit and has a dog and can’t stay in a hotel well then that’s good to the city,” Smith said.

As for the room occupancy tax, Airbnb states taxes are included in the cost of the guest’s bill then sent to the state.

A New Hanover County spokeswoman said over the years its room occupancy tax has continued to increase, but that could be due to a combination of factors.

The county cannot directly link the increase to Airbnb.