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10 Best Pocono HOAs for STR

Introduction to the Poconos

 

The Pocono market has long been a popular vacation rental market due to the area’s many natural attractions and the region’s proximity to major metros Philadelphia and New York City. As a region, the phrase “The Poconos” is linked to a wide variety of areas that have much of the same allure in common.

 

Although a great area to invest, there are many caveats when searching for your next investment. Not all Pocono HOAs allow short term rentals. Of the HOAs that do allow STR, each has a unique fee structure. If you’re not familiar with the area and are looking for a place to begin your search, the below hot list will help refine your search.

 

Today, our goal is to identify different submarkets within “the Poconos” that serve the short term rental community and its demand. We will work our way in ascending order to the number one ranked HOA, starting with an HOA that still deserves merit as an STR option. While the following rankings include a great deal of subjectivity, we use objective measures in our quest to create a hot list of where to search for your next vacation rental. Factors include: location, amenities, rental potential versus price, per stay and annual fees associated with renting in the HOA, and lastly a subjective measure of overall expected guest experience.

 

Disclaimer: Rankings and subjective comparisons between HOAs are not meant to discredit or heighten one HOA being better than another. Rather, help investors identify where time is best spent searching for better returns.

 
 
 
 

Honorable Mention – Pocono Farms East – Tobyhanna

 

Coming in with an honorable mention is Pocono Farms East (PFE). PFE benefits from being one of the few HOAs that does not charge a per stay fee to its guests. PFE also has a good proximity to some of the area’s attractions. Where PFE falls short is in its amenities, proximity to the slopes, and community aesthetic. PFE has had some winners from a cash on cash projection perspective, yet I would rank the rest equal or better in likelihood of finding opportunity. If looking in PFE, be sure your property is unique. It is easy to fall victim to a tastefully renovated home that lacks standout features among its peers.

 

Honorable Mention – Albrightsville

 

Indian Mountain Lakes (IML) comes at the same tier as PFE. IML has a $50 per stay fee, implying rental rates must be higher if you are looking to cashflow. Being in Albrightsville, IML is not far from the slopes. Their amenities are standard. The guest experience falls short relative to other communities. If looking in IML, be sure you have an X-factor such as a game room, hot tub, or other differentiating factor.

 

Honorable Mention – A Pocono Country Place – Tobyhanna

 

A Pocono Country Place (PCP) is well known in the Poconos region, love it or hate it. PCP has nearly 6,000 homes, boasting a massive community of both residents and STRs. The average home price in PCP is on the lower end. With a $40 per stay fee in tandem with cheaper home prices, PCP is a value play. There are successful rentals in PCP, and to be one you have to differentiate yourself. A common trap to fall into is seeing a nicely renovated house at a reasonable price tag. Unfortunately, many of these homes are fairly cookie cutter and face extreme competition. The silver lining here is with low barrier to entry and a community filled with amenities, offering guests a listing that can differentiate itself will put you in a position for success.

 

#10 Stillwater Lake Civic Association – Pocono Summit

 

Stillwater Lake Civic & Stillwater Estates both benefit from having a central location in the Pocono region. Shopping and area attractions are close by. The homes are affordable. In Stillwater Lake Civic Association, the per stay fee is $75, so be sure to have the WOW factor. Stillwater Estates has its lakefront gems, and has no per stay fee.

 

#9 Emerald Lakes – Long Pond

 

Emerald Lakes falls in the middle of the pack. With a central location to area attractions, shopping, the slopes, and the Pocono Raceway, Emerald Lakes has its benefits. With no per stay fee, and a $2500 annual STR fee for full time hosts, you’ll want to be sure you plan on committing in this community. I find larger/more expensive houses in Emerald Lakes to fare better as investments. Emerald Lakes is in Tobyhanna Township which limits to 2 per bedroom and 10 guests max. There are talks of restricting the amount of STRs in the community, so stay diligent. Although repetitive, I need to reiterate its the X-factor in your listing that will put you ahead of the competition.

 

#8 Pocono Farms – Tobyhanna

 

Pocono Farms earns the number 8 ranking position due to the quality and feel of the HOA and community amenities. As a country club, the expectations are set for the experience. Unfortunately, there is a $100/stay fee. You’ll want to be sure to cater to high dollar or lengthy reservations to offset this cost.

 

#7 Towamensing Trails – Albrightsville

 

Towamensing Trails is a highly coveted HOA and for good reason. The community has amenities, is STR friendly, and excellent proximity to Jack Frost Big Boulder. With so many positive facets, the key here is being proprietary. There is a $30/stay fee and $5/vehicle registration fee, so you’ll want to either search for value to keep the mortgage low, or better yet, aim for a unique home that you can further spice with interior design.

 

#6 Locust Lake Village – Pocono Lake

 

Locust Lake Village quickly became one of our team’s favorite locations in the Poconos. Why? The homes are reasonably priced for the size and bones, allowing investors to customize homes with renovation or interior design prior to being able to attract guests at the right price. The community has its amenities, the location is great, and the per stay fee is a modest $30. LLV is in Tobyhanna Township which limits to 2 per bedroom and 10 guests max.

 

#5 Arrowhead Lake – Pocono Lake

 

Arrowhead Lake is a long time vacation favorite in the Pocono region. The superb amenity offerings and number of charming listings in the community have led to an established brand vacationers and guests trust. With close proximity to Jack Frost/Big Boulder ski resorts, Arrowhead serves as a premier vacation destination. Each reservation comes with a $35 per stay fee, and guest fees to use the amenities. Arrowhead is in Tobyhanna Township which limits to 2 per bedroom and 10 guests max. Otherwise Arrowhead could find itself even higher in the rankings.

 

#4 Big Bass Lake – Gouldsboro

 

With lesser known popularity, Big Bass Lake may come as a surprise at number 4 on our list. There are a variety of reasons Big Bass Lake should have your attention. Foremost, Big Bass Lake has larger lots, creating an increasingly rare serene getaway. Further, the homes come with some of the most reasonable price tags, seriously, you will not believe how far the dollar goes in Big Bass relative to its peers. There is a $50/stay fee, but with the size of the homes and the beauty of the community, Big Bass warrants the cost. Tour Big Bass with us and compare elsewhere, you will not be disappointed.

 

#3 Camelot Forest/Greenwood Acres – Blakeslee

 

Another sleeper pick soaring up the rankings is Blakeslee, particular two distinct HOAs Camelot Forest and Greenwood Acres. Being as close as you can get to the ski slopes without touching your face to the snow, the 7 minute distance is among the best. Camelot Forest has a distinct class of homes that will make you drool over the idea of owning one. Greenwood Acres is seeing development by one of the areas premier builders, as is Camelot Forest. Each HOA is small but mighty. Another plus here is the central sewer system versus septic. Septics can lead to high hidden costs, which you will not have to worry about here.

 

#2 Lake Naomi/Timber Trails – Pocono Pines

 

No other community on the list yet can compete with the ambiance and feel of a drive in Lake Naomi. The aesthetic of homes, rigid yet warranted community standards, and pure beauty of the area will sweep you off your feet time and time again. Home prices in Lake Naomi come with a heftier price tag compared to their peers. It’s the price you pay, and the price guests will be willing to pay, to experience the Lake Naomi community. There is no per stay fee. You must pay a hefty $4800 in annual membership dues for your guests to use the community amenities. Lake Naomi is in Tobyhanna Township which limits to 2 per bedroom and 10 guests max.

 

#1 Lake Harmony/Split Rock – Lake Harmony

 

Lake Harmony and Split Rock share many of the same praise as Lake Naomi. Where Lake Harmony pushes ahead for the top spot is its location. Being only a few minutes from Vail owned Jack Frost/Big Boulder secures the top spot. There is not much more you could ask for from an experience standpoint. The second you arrive at the community, you’ll feel not only welcome, but welcomed into vacation mode. Lake Harmony Estates has low HOA dues, but Split Rock has a whopping $4800 per year, so keep these fees in mind.

 

About the Author

 

Jonathan Dempsey (JD) is a top performing agent in the Poconos region primarily serving investors to find premier short term rental offerings. JD manages a team of investor agents who source & underwrite STR deals. JD also manages a co-hosting company that handles all STR operations for owners. The co-hosting company grew from JD and his team’s love of the short term rental industry, with a focus on being the solution to passive STR investing. JD actively invests in the Poconos region, most recently acquiring a $5M BRRR project. If you’re looking for help from a team that lives and breathes STR, treats your real estate journey like your own, and wants to build success together, do not hesitate to reach out.

 

Web: LFListings.com

IG: @LiveFreewithJD

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