AirDNA: Flexible seasonality ushers in promising autumn for US rentals

US: Short-term rental data provider AirDNA’s latest monthly review shows demand for US short-term rentals is back above 2019 levels, after dropping slightly in August.

US short-term rental occupancy hit 59 per cent 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 per cent higher than in 2019, showing the power of new work flexibility.

With a market revenue of $14.5 billion in Q3 [24 per cent higher than in 2019], the US 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.

AirDNA CEO Scott Shatford said: “In Q3, an average of 1,620 new listings were added to Airbnb and Vrbo daily, mostly in small cities and rural areas. Savvy Rentalpreneurs are capitalising on the opportunity this sector presents for investors.”

‘Tis the Season: Americans longing for a more “normal” holiday season 

For the last quarter of 2021, nights booked are pacing 12.9 per cent higher than 2019, particularly thanks to high levels of bookings for Thanksgiving, which is booking over 30 per cent higher than 2019, and 65 per cent higher than 2020. The week of Christmas and New Year’s is already pacing 89 per cent higher than 2020.

Increased booking activity has pushed rates 30 per cent 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.

AirDNA VP of research, Jamie Lane, said: “Demand for this fall and winter is already elevated with travellers booking early to secure the best properties for holidays with their friends and family. With the return of international travel, we also expect urban market demand to start accelerating.”

Last month, to complement its US Monthly Reviews, AirDNA announced the release of its inaugural European Monthly Market Review to give industry insiders a holistic view into the short-term rental market performance on the continent.