Panama City Beach spring break rentals expected to fall again

Panama City Beach bed tax

Tax reports from the TDC (Tourist Development Council) showed a 40% decrease in March tax revenue for 2016 compared to the prior year. Hotels and rental management companies are forecasting even lighter spring break traffic this year. What was previously considered a peak rental month is now another quiet rental month for many condo owners in Panama City Beach.

This is a very touchy issue in Panama City Beach.  I just thought it would be helpful to present the data for condo owners.


New Spring Break Rules Did Impact Rental Revenue in March

2016 was the first year Panama City Beach eliminated drinking on the sandy beach. This new rule may be to blame for the 40% decrease in rentals in 2016. 2017 spring break bookings are looking to be substantially lower than 2016.

Other Months Made Up for the Dismal Income in March

Panama City Beach bed tax

2016 rental revenue was only slightly less than 2015. This was due to the fact that higher income in other months made up for the dismal March numbers.

Not all Condominiums Were Affected in the Same Way

I took a look at a number of individual Panama City Beach condominium units and floor plans in several buildings to try and provide an objective opinion of how the new rules were affecting condominium owners. The results were not as drastic as I expected.

Long Beach 1 Bedroom Condos

Long Beach did see a decrease in rentals during March 2016. The individual condo I chose had gross rentals of $2,315 in 2015 and $1,997 in 2016. This is a 14% decrease in rentals.

I was told by another Long Beach one bedroom owner who said here March 2016 rentals were much lower and did not see any bookings for March 2017, but I was not able to verify this with rental statements.

Calypso 2 Bedroom + Bunk

The individual condo I picked here had $2,977 gross rentals in 2014, $2,532 in 2015, and $2,632 in 2016. So 2016 actually saw a 4% increase in March Spring Break rentals. Previously, calypso never received a significant amount of college spring break rental clientele. It is one of the buildings that appear to be immune to the crack down on college spring breakers.

Areas Seeing Rentals Go Through the Floor

The Summit condominium

The Summit condominium, one of the most popular spots for spring breakers, is seeing a huge decline in rental revenue. This condominium was built in 1984 and sits right next to Spinnaker and Club LaVela.

Owners who rent condos themselves

Owners who handle condo rentals themselves have always been able to generate annual rental numbers that put rental management companies to shame. I know of several 2 bedroom condominiums in a non-resort building where a good rental company does 22k gross rentals per year; whereas individual owners renting themselves do 36-38k annually. Although these owners obligate themselves to a part time job renting their condos, many do pull in impressive numbers. These are the owners who were most negatively affected when the no drinking on the sandy beaches rule passed. Prior to this rule, March was another peak season month where they would see 3-5k in rentals. This March many condos are empty.

Do Panama City Beach Condo Owners Want To Host College Spring Breakers?

This is a fair question to ask. Different condominium building owners probably have different answers to the same question. The college spring break crowd is, well, college students. It is no surprise they are going to be loud. Hosting them is sonomous with college parties in front of Spinnaker, LaVela, Shores of Panama, Holliday Inn, Sharkys, and Sandpiper. Condominium staff will be required to spend more on security and cleanup efforts. Since news outlets like to sell advertising and report salacious stories, Panama City Beach faces the likelyhood of bad press coverage. It is fair to question.  Does the extra revenue is worth the potential pitfalls?

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  • John Kittler

    Daytona, Ft Lauderdale and other cities went through this and survived. Honestly, the criminal element we were starting to attract would have done in the area if allowed to continue to run rampant. Despite the law, we are still having problems, but they will get the message and at least we can concentrate on them now and not 100 drunk teens. Remember this town is more than a bunch of condo investors and a few multimillionaire nightclub owners...and by the way, no, we don't have to move, we just have to vote, as you found out last year. BTW, since I do not cater to spring break and never have, my rentals are doing just fine bringing in Families who spend money instead of just getting drunk.

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  • Dee Anderson

    Law was not well thought out and the cost to implement has been huge for anyone who rents during spring break. How is killing all revenues for spring break a good thing? Just dumb. Officers needed to get off their ass and get on the beach and we would not have had the problem that we had. There is no substitute for having police on the beach. Alcohol law just destroyed business for spring break. Repeal the law!!!!!

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  • Brody Black

    Birmingham, AL, USA

    Long term I think it will pay off in PCB shedding some of the negative association with decades as spring break central. As 30A's proximity and beach land scarcity will continue to help PCB, if it will help itself, like passing this law and cleaning up the area for family's. Otherwise, crime associated with spring break crowds will decimate the main revenue source (family rentals).

    We spent spring break at Aqua and I did not see one sign or incident typically associated with spring break in a five day stay. Heck, peak season weeks are far more raucous than what I witnessed. I never dreamed in 20 years of proactive change could PCB achieve such calm, at least down in the Pier Park area. My hats is off to the city, police department and management associations for a superb effective collaborative effort.

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  • Kelly Morgan

    Nashville, TN, USA

    I think the law passed is a good one. They cause more destruction and disruption of peoples lives to be worth the money they spend, I say let them keep going elsewhere. Too much liability for everyone, the owners might find their rentals increase if the HOA would bring down the HOA fees so that the owners could rent for a little less. The high HOA also makes it harder to sell properties if you add that up it makes the condo a bad investment. This is money you can never retrieve.

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