Olympic premium hits rental market 

RMOW considering short-term rental permits for residential homes during Games

By Alison Taylor

A six-bedroom luxury home in Nicklaus North has been rented for one month over the 2010 Olympic Games for approximately $60,000.

That’s setting a good benchmark for things to come, said Ben Thomas of VIP Mountain Holidays.

“It’s a good rate,” he said, of the deal for an Olympic client. “It’s not ridiculous but it’s a great premium.”

That Nicklaus North home, which is zoned for nightly rentals, would have cost $1,500 per night last month, for a monthly total of $42,000 but that’s not a true comparison, said Thomas.

“You would never ever get 28 nights booked on it in a row and if you did it would be at a much lower price,” he said.

The deal comes as municipal staff work on a report to council that looks at short-term rental permits during the Games for homes zoned residential.

In other words, homeowners of property in residentially zoned areas could potentially rent their homes, or rooms in their homes, for short periods of time during the Olympics.

Diana Waltmann, information officer with the resort municipality, said staff has held community focus groups and will be taking the results of the staff report forward for public consultation.

“The challenge is to develop a system that does not adversely affect the employees that are renting in market housing,” said Waltmann.

Another concern is that local homeowners could take an extended holiday during February 2010, leaving Whistler with a contracted workforce.

Thomas estimates that owners could expect to earn between $5,000 and $7,000 per bedroom for February 2010. A four-bedroom house in White Gold, for example, could rent for $20,000 to $25,000 for the month.

“That’s where I think the rates are going to shake out,” said Thomas.

He is actively in the market with clients who are ready to book units.

It is not clear when the staff report will be coming to council or when there will be community consultation.

“One of the biggest issues here is there’s a lot of confusion,” said Thomas. “The owners really don’t know what to expect.”

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