Flexible Seasonality Brings a Promising Fall for U.S. Short-Term Rentals
AirDNA's monthly review shows demand for U.S. short-term rentals back over 2019 levels, after dropping slightly in August.
U.S. short-term rental occupancy hit 59% in September, down from summer highs, but still hitting the highest occupancy ever recorded for the month. The extended summer season was felt particularly in coastal and mountain destinations like Cape Cod, Myrtle Beach, and Hilton Head, where occupancy was around 30% higher than in 2019, showing the power of new work flexibility.
Record earnings have sparked interest for investors looking to enter the sector, especially in destination markets.
With a market revenue of $14.5 billion in Q3 (24% higher than in 2019), the U.S. short-term rental industry has created unprecedented returns for investors in recent months. In mountain/lake destinations, the high demand has brought in a surge of new supply, bringing listing counts back up to pre-pandemic levels. Top markets for new properties include Myrtle Beach (+2,754), Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge (+2,126), and the Ozark Mountains (+1,931), where more new listings have been added since the end of 2019 than anywhere else.
For the last quarter of 2021, nights booked are pacing 12.9% higher than 2019, particularly thanks to high levels of bookings for Thanksgiving, which is booking over 30% higher than 2019, and 65% higher than 2020. The week of Christmas and New Year's is already pacing 89% higher than 2020.
Increased booking activity has pushed rates 30% higher than what guests paid in 2019. The most expensive markets are Western ski resorts, where prices for Christmas in Aspen, Park City, and Telluride are all averaging more than $1,000 per night. Overall rates are at about $346 for Thanksgiving weekend and $415 for the week of Christmas through New Year's Eve.