Rooms for rent – lots of ’em

Rentals Something very interesting has happened on the bulletin board at Connections.

That’s a mailbox rental, activity booking, and phone service business with locations in Cruz Bay and Coral Bay. The bulletin board is also  the closet thing to the Classified Ads in the newspaper.  For $3, people looking for a job or leaving the island and therefore selling furniture can put up a card with the particulars.

Lately, though, the board is filling with long term rental offerings; rooms, houses and apartments.  One islander says she’s never seen so many.  She estimates as many as 30 are on the board right now.

Now, in a place where tourism is the only business, housing is always a problem.  Jobs don’t pay a heck of a lot, and housing is expensive, and so people settle for what they can find or for what they can pay. Or they double- and triple-up. 

Now, the market has gotten soft. The cards are filling the wall.  Basic economics suggests a couple possible reasons.  First, high season is ending and folks who came down for the winter are heading back home, giving up their apartments.  Second, businesses are cutting back staff as business gets slower.

But this islander we talked with has been through a lot of seasons on St. John.  High season ends every year, of course.  But she’s never seen so much available housing.  Is St. John losing population?

10 thoughts on “Rooms for rent – lots of ’em”

  1. The board at Connections has been full of places to rent all season long. There are only a few jobs listed though. When I moved to St. John 10 years ago the board was full of jobs, and only had two or three very high end places to rent. Things sure have changed!

  2. Usually you can’t FIND a rent on the North Side of St. Thomas after mid-November. This year, the “for rent” signs have remained up through the season for the first time in memory. The Island Trader has been loaded with available rents all season. Most of which appear severely overpriced due, in part, to heavily mortgaged property. It’s an economic, political and practical sign of the times. Decent jobs are lacking (except if you work for the Government, which will follow suit as soon as they start running out of money). Crime is on a hard upswing, and the “boomer” generation fears the inability to retire in decency, particularly when cost (food in particular) continue to escalate at unprecedented rates. I know many, many people that have to leave Island to survive, locals and “continentals” alike.

  3. When rents come down, those rental postings will dwindle. The supply-and-demand reality of the stateside economy is only just trickling into St. John… landlords have not yet awoken to realize that everyone is looking to save on their biggest expense — housing. I bet there are a lot more shared rentals than ever on island, and fewer people able to come down “just for a year or two”.

  4. Just curious. Is anyone watching or anticipating the potential impact of Cuba opening up on rentals, villas, property values and tourism in the USVI? Or the rest of the Caribbean, for that matter? Shouldn’t this be anticipated? What will be the impact from Havana Harbor welcoming cruise ships? 1500 slip marinas currently under construction?

  5. For many years I have said when Cuba and the rest of the world patch things up…it will impact the tourist and investment sector.

  6. I wonder what impact the housing “Surplus” is having on Pond Bay. Has anyone heard how they’re doing on sales?

  7. Hey all, I am thinking of relocating to the virgin islands and would like to find more information on rental prices. I am talking about the rentals that the tourist stay clear of. Can anyone help me out. [email protected]
    I live on a fixed income so employment is not an issue.

  8. To the best of my knowledge you don’t have to register with the tenancy board if you are simply renting a room in your house as long as you are living there. This situation is treated differently as you are actually living in the property so it’s like the old-school landlord-tenant, digs-style relationship. However, it’s still a good idea to set out some ground rules and possibly even draw up a more formal agreement. At least you and your lodger will both know where you stand then. I have been renting a room in my place for the last 3 years to various tenants and have had no problems but I’m sure I’ve just been lucky. Most of my lodgers have been students so I get the place back to myself for the summer months.

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