Who’s here?

rc-&-mh-SQThis may be jumping the gun a little, but we come to Labor Day weekend, a traditional end of summer, and unscientifically, we can say that the town has been stuffed with people all season long. The streets are filled, and even a merchant or two has conceded that it might not have been a terrible summer. The line of cars climbing Mill Hill Road has felt, at times, like the Cross Bronx Expressway (well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, there’s nothing in the world quite like the CBE), as you inch your way to the Village Green. Several locals have advanced the theory that the plethora of Airbnb availabilities in a town where overnight and weekend lodging has always been scant, has led to the population burst (won’t quite call it an explosion…burst, should do… maybe bubble is the word.)

At the same time, I’ve had a couple of people tell me that they’d been looking for an apartment or a year-round rental in Woodstock and were having quite a bit of trouble in finding one. Affordability could be an issue, as it always has been in Woodstock.

But I do know of a couple of different landlords who have given up the idea of having a tenant long term in favor of Airbnb short term rentals.

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Their logic is compelling. Instead of a long term tenant, paying maybe $1000 a month, someone who is there all the time, who will subject a dwelling to normal wear and tear, and sometimes abnormal use, try getting $350 (or more) per weekend, with guests vetted by Airbnb, who will only be there for two or three days, and in general will treat your place like a guest would. That’s not a guarantee against them trashing your joint but, tenants, fear ye the wrath of Airbnb, lest you end up with a black mark against your name.

Thus, the theory, untested as of yet (but we are undertaking an examination of this hypothesis) is that there are fewer available year round apartment and house dwellings in Woodstock (or maybe fewer affordable ones) because of the advent of Airbnb. Add to this some connect the dots logic that there have been many more people in town due to the availability of very short term rentals, and that this has had a beneficial effect on the summer economy (and likely, the holiday economy, come Thanksgiving and those December ones).

And the question that accompanies such theories, should they be tested and proved solid, becomes, is it good for the town to have fewer year round residents in favor of weekend renters? Remember that Woodstock has always been a town with a substantial second home population that already reduces the wintertime commercial possibilities.

If you think it’s beneficial to Woodstock, then we’re OK. If you think it’s not, is there anything that can be done? Or does it all depend on market forces?

We aim to find out more about it. Let us know what you think. wtedit@gmail.com.