Skift Take

Miami-based startup Foothold.co has introduced a real estate crowdfunding platform specializing in luxury vacation rentals. 

Welcome to a brand new week, folks! I would say I hope you’re keeping warm, except I find myself wiping droplets of sweat off my keyboard on this 89 degree day in Mumbai. 

Alright, let’s hit it:

On the menu today:

  • Crowdfunding for luxury rentals
  • Despegar’s focus on vacation rentals
  • Hyatt sheds rental management business

Crowdfunded Luxury

Miami-based startup Foothold.co has introduced a real estate crowdfunding platform specializing in luxury vacation rentals. 

Foothold.co caters to both accredited and non-accredited investors, with a minimum investment starting at $200. 

Founded in September 2022, the company announced availability from November 8, featuring an investment opportunity in the “Patagonia Mirror Hotel” resort in Argentina. 

  • Fractional ownership of rentals isn’t new, but the influx of investors snapping up homes has gained momentum recently. Last week, the Wall Street Journal wrote about private equity firm TPG’s interest in Florida. 
  • I am reading this alongside record prices for condo sales in Florida. In 2015, hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin acquired a set of penthouses in a single Miami Beach transaction for $60 million

That record was just broken with a 13,000-square foot furnished apartment at in Florida that will soon be listed at $65 million.And it hasn’t been lived in. 

Is it a wonder that companies like Foothold are offering fractional ownership in luxury rentals? 

Despegar’s Turn Towards Rentals

Latin American travel agency Despegar in its latest earnings season highlighted its focus on vacation rentals and said its vacation rental inventory grew by 45%. During the third quarter, the number of Despegar’s vacation rentals surged by 87%, reaching a total of 750,000 properties.

Additionally, the company partnered with Vrbo to enhance their vacation rentals inventory. With Expedia as an investor and Vrbo as a partner, Despegar aims to reach nearly 1 million units in its vacation rental inventory by the year’s end. 

New Money for Raus

Berlin-based vacation rental platform Raus secured €8.5 million ($9.1 million) in funding, encompassing venture capital and debt. Led by ROCH Ventures, with participation from Rockaway Ventures and Dupuis Investment, the round also saw continued support from existing investors like Speedinvest and 10x Founders. 

The financing includes an “asset-backed lending facility” from German Varengold Bank. Raus, founded in 2021, operates over 50 high-tech cabins in Germany, and produced  a 500% revenue growth this year. The funds will facilitate expansion across Europe, starting with Austria, and further development of technology and nature-centric offerings. The startup collaborates with land partners, including farmers and foresters, who offer additional services generating an average of €1,500 monthly.

From Lawsuit to Trial

The aftermath of a recent town meeting, where voters rejected short-term rental bylaw proposals, has paved the way for a Massachusetts Land Court judge Michael D. Vhay, to decide the legality of short-term rentals in Nantucket’s residential zoning, The Nantucket Current reported.

A lawsuit filed by a resident against her neighbors is at the forefront, claiming short-term rentals violate zoning bylaws. The resident’s case, supported by ACK Now, a political action group that has been advocating for short-term rental restrictions on the island, aims to restrict short-term rentals. 

On the other side of the debate, Nantucket Together, the political action non-profit group made up of seasonal and year-round residents who operate short-term rentals, is also closely watching the trial. 

The judge’s decision, expected in December or early January. 

Hyatt Sheds Vacation Rental Business

In late September, Hyatt Hotels exited its vacation rental management business, selling its Destination Residences Management unit to real estate investor Lowe for $2 million. Hyatt’s latest quarterly report reveals the possibility for an additional $48 million, based on meeting certain performance metrics and contract extensions. 

The transaction resulted in a $19 million pre-tax gain for Hyatt. 

Hyatt Sold Off Its Vacation Rental Management Arm For Up To $50 Million

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