10 Markets with the Highest Returns on Airbnb Rentals in 2022

by Mashvisor

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned investor, investing in Airbnb rentals is a good investment option with great potential. So, where exactly should you invest? What are the leading markets to keep a close eye on?

These are good questions for real estate investors to ask. Real estate investments are all about location. Location is the only constant thing about your investment. You can change most of the property features, but if you don’t invest in the right market, you can’t do much to make your Airbnb investment profitable.

How do you identify a good location? You need to consider various factors, such as proximity to tourist attractions and access to amenities, including transportation and general security. You also need to look at how much rental income you can expect to earn in the said location and the average property expenses in your market of choice.

Analyzing all these factors for every market isn’t easy. That’s why in this article, we’ve looked at Mashvisor data and analysis to compile this list of the top 10 markets with the highest returns for Airbnb rentals in 2022. We will be looking at the best Airbnb markets for short-term rental properties plus much more.


[ Rental property investor, rehabber or wholesaler? Get to know which investing strategy is the best fit for YOU by attending our FREE online real estate class. ]


airbnb rentals

Benefits of Investing in Airbnb Rentals

Airbnb rental properties have become increasingly popular due to the various benefits they offer to Airbnb owners and hosts. Short-term rentals advantages include:

Higher Returns

Compared to traditional rental properties, Airbnb rentals offer you an opportunity to earn a higher monthly rental income.

For example, let’s say you buy an Airbnb investment property and choose to rent it as a long-term rental for $1,500 a month. In a year, this traditional rental will generate a rental income of $18,000.

Let’s assume you choose to make the same property a short-term rental for $165 a night. Of course, your property won’t achieve a 100% booking rate. If your property is booked for 180 nights, you’ll generate a rental income of $29,700.

However, you have to accept the risk of instability that short-term rentals come with. There’s no assurance that you’ll receive a reasonable booking rate to guarantee a higher rental income.

Flexibility

As a traditional rental landlord, you can set your rental rates based on the existing market conditions, and then you have to stick to this rate for months or even years ahead. Further, laws and regulations govern how you can increase your rates.

On the other hand, short-term rentals allow you to adjust your nightly rates during the high season to match the demand. You have the flexibility to choose how much rent you want to charge every single day. Also, if your location is a tourism hotspot receiving a good flow of tourists throughout the year, there’s no crime in capitalizing on that.

However, keep in mind that your rates need to be competitive, or else you can lose potential bookings to your competitors.

Short-term rental owners also experience flexibility when it comes to when they want to list their property. You can pull down your listings at any time, and you have the freedom to choose when your guests can book your rental and for how long.

For example, you can pull your listing for one week for you to enjoy it during your vacation.

Passive Income

Airbnb rental properties also offer owners the potential for passive income. Ideally, a passive investment doesn’t need you to be actively involved to generate a good income. A business that generates profits based on how much you work isn’t passive.

With Airbnb properties, your rental income isn’t based on how much work and effort you put into it. You don’t have to be there with the guests, or stay with them to keep them entertained. Simply list your property on Airbnb and keep your listings in great condition. To make your Airbnb income 100% passive, you can even hire a professional property manager to handle all business operations.

Passive income is a great way to boost your income from your job or other business. Many people who start a short-term rental business on the side eventually quit their full-time jobs to concentrate on Airbnb rentals.

Tax Benefits

Many Airbnb owners and property managers aren’t aware of the tax benefits that Airbnbs allows them to enjoy. Since you manage the property as a vacation rental business, there are some expenses that you can deduct from your taxes. These expenses include advertising and marketing, insurance, accounting fees, and many other tax-deductible expenses.

These tax benefits can have a huge effect on your cash flow. You can maximize your earning potential while writing off some overhead costs.

Since laws vary from state to state, consult with a tax professional to determine whether you’re eligible for tax deductions.

Factors to Consider When Investing in Airbnb

It’s beyond doubt that many real estate investors have found success in short-term rentals. As much as they’d want to make it look easy, there’s more than meets the eye. There are many factors that investors need to consider in order to set themselves up for success. After all, nobody wants to lose their hard-earned money when investing it in an Airbnb property.

Here is a breakdown of some Airbnb tips every investor should be aware of when investing:

Location

You could rightfully say that location is real estate investment’s mantra. If you nail your investment location, you’re more than halfway to your success. While there’s a demand for short-term rentals, you can only enjoy strong demand in the right area.

Simply put, tourism hotspots are the best Airbnb markets for investing in short-term rentals. You can attract travelers by investing in neighborhoods close to attractions, sights, or major event venues. You can also attract professionals by investing near academic institutions, business hubs, or airports.

While short-term rentals are lucrative, some areas have banned Airbnb businesses. Others have strict laws to regulate the industry. Airbnb laws regulate the pre-purchase process, property management, and profit potential.

It’s important to check your local Airbnb laws to avoid running into situations where you’ll face dire legal consequences. Some investors have landed into trouble with the authorities and had to pay heavy fines. This situation isn’t good for business as it leads to a negative cash flow.

Property Management

Many Airbnb investors forget to factor in the property management aspect. Airbnb property management can turn into a full-time job.

The property management tasks include selecting a pricing strategy, taking quality property photos, managing listings, responding to inquiries, handling bookings, maintaining good communication with guests, scheduling cleaning after check-out, and many others.

As you can see, choosing to handle property management on your own can be quite demanding. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll save money.

You can consider hiring a property manager or management agency to shoulder this responsibility. While you’ll pay a percentage of your rental income, the amount of workload they take over is worth it. This is how you make your investment passive.

Property Expenses

Most newbie Airbnb investors are shocked when they learn that the property’s buying price is just the beginning of a whole list of other expenses. You don’t want your excitement to be wiped away once you realize how much expenses are involved in running an Airbnb business.

You need to think of rental property expenses, such as utility bills, maintenance and cleaning, landscaping, and property repairs.

More importantly, think about tenancies. Can you still afford the property when you can’t get bookings immediately or when experiencing slow seasons? What if there are major market shifts and you can’t charge as much as you used to?

Keep in mind that Airbnb levies a 3% service fee on the host for every booking. This can eat into your profits if not considered. Also, consider unforeseen events and have an emergency fund for such cases. A guest might be injured during their stay.

airbnb rental property

How to Measure Return on Airbnb Rental Properties

Before buying a short-term rental property, you should carry out your due diligence. Part of the due diligence involves using an Airbnb profit calculator to determine how much money you can make. Calculating the expected returns on an Airbnb rental helps you determine whether investing in the property makes financial sense or not.

There are a few return on investment metrics to help you measure the profitability of your short-term rental property. These include:

Airbnb Occupancy Rate

The Airbnb occupancy rate refers to the ratio of the number of nights an Airbnb rental is booked in a year to the number of nights it is available for bookings in a year. A property’s occupancy rate is usually determined by the location, seasons of the year, quality of customer service, and reviews.

This metric is important since it determines the monthly Airbnb rental income, the cash flow, and ultimately the return on investment. Ideally, you want to go for a rental property with an Airbnb occupancy rate of 65% or above.

Airbnb Cash Flow

Airbnb cash flow is one of the most important Airbnb return on investment metrics. It’s the difference between the rental income and the property expenses. A property’s cash flow gives you an accurate estimate of the monthly profit you can expect to generate from your Airbnb rental property.

If you’re just getting started in short-term investment properties, it’s recommended that you go for properties with a positive cash flow. Positive cash flow means your rental income is enough to cater to the property expenses and leave you with a good profit.

A positive cash flow also enables you to grow your Airbnb rental portfolio faster. Besides, lenders are more likely to loan you money when you have positive cash flow investments.

Airbnb Cash on Cash Return

While Airbnb cash flow is a good return on investment metric, you shouldn’t rely on it alone. There are other metrics to calculate the return on investment based on how much profit an Airbnb rental makes as a percentage of the total cost.

The cash on cash return (CoC return) is used to estimate the ROI when the investor has taken a mortgage to pay for the property. In short, it’s the ratio of the annual cash flow of a short-term rental before tax to the total amount of cash invested.

What is a good Airbnb cash on cash return? It depends. A good cash on cash return varies depending on factors such as location and property type. However, an ideal Airbnb cash on cash return should be at least 8%.

Airbnb Cap Rate

The cap rate (capitalization rate) is the net operating income (NOI) of a vacation rental as a percentage of its fair market value. For starters, the NOI is the difference between the annual rental property income and the annual vacation property operating expenses. The difference between the cash flow and the NOI is that the latter doesn’t account for the financing costs.

The cap rate estimates the profitability of an Airbnb rental when fully bought in cash, and it doesn’t consider the financing method. While this metric isn’t as complete as the cash on cash return, investors can use it to quickly and easily compare the return on investment potential of different markets and different short-term rental properties for sale.

How to Find the Best Airbnb Markets

Before we can look at some of the leading housing markets for Airbnb rentals in 2022, we need to look at how you can identify a good Airbnb rental market. Here are some pointers to select the best markets for short-term rentals:

Proximity to Attractions

We briefly mentioned that areas close to tourist markets make the best locations for vacation rental properties. Typically, the best Airbnb markets are near a city that receives a high number of visitors all year round.

Popular attractions include:

  • White sandy beaches

  • National parks

  • Mountains and hiking trails

  • Museums and cultural centers

These areas generally tend to offer a high occupancy rate.

Low Competition

Competition affects what nightly rates you can charge and what return on investment your rental property can generate. To enjoy an occupancy rate that’s higher than average, you need to invest in an area with a low number of hotel rooms and other vacation rentals compared to a strong demand from tourists and business travelers.

As a newbie, we advise that you steer clear from areas with a high number of Airbnb rentals, such as big cities. These areas have cut-throat competition meaning it could take you longer to break even and emerge profitable.

Be on the lookout for mid-sized towns that have fewer hotels and considerably high occupancy rates. Areas with a low supply of accommodation and high demand tend to have good rental rates. A high supply of accommodation will compel you to keep your rates low.

Low Seasonality

When conducting your Airbnb market analysis, you need to consider the location’s high and low seasons. Essentially, you don’t want to invest in a location with long off-seasons. If your property stays vacant for a long period, you’ll be running losses since you still have to pay for the property expenses out of your own pocket.

As a savvy real estate investor, you should invest in an area with a constant flow of people across all seasons. While it may not always be the case, target a location where you’ll still be able to make some money during the off-season.

Lenient Airbnb Laws

While a location might tick all of the above boxes, you have to check the local vacation rental laws and regulations. As the popularity of alternative accommodation grew, cities and states saw the need to regulate the industry. Unfortunately, many investors overlook this aspect and end up running into trouble, and this could lead to significant losses due to fines.

Some cities have banned Airbnb rentals outright, while others have imposed strict laws. You want to stay away from such cities. Other cities give investors more freedom when it comes to Airbnb investments. These are the cities you should invest in.

Remember, taxes and licensing fees affect your profit margins. Be sure to understand these ordinances when looking into any housing market.

Access to Amenities

Airbnb guests love staying in locations near restaurants, gyms, and shops. They also want to stay in rentals that are accessible to public transport. Ensure that your property provides your guests with the convenience they need to choose your vacation rental over others in the area.

Rental Comps

Rental comps are comparable properties that are similar to the property you wish to purchase. The main purpose of finding rental comps is to set up a benchmark. There’s no point in investing in a certain location if the rental comps show that existing Airbnb rentals are not performing well.

Rentals comps should have the following characteristics:

  • Be located within the same neighborhood

  • Have the same features, including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as the square footage

  • Have similar finishing and fitting

Ideally, you should look at three rental comps. If you struggle to find this number of comps, it may be because there’s no demand for Airbnb rentals in that location.

airbnb investment property

US Cities With the Highest Airbnb Cash on Cash Return in 2022

These are the leading cities for Airbnb rentals according to Mashvisor, a real estate data and analytics platform that also provides Airbnb statistics:

1. Eureka, IL

  • Average Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 9.89%

  • Average Airbnb Cap Rate: 10.51%

  • Average Airbnb Daily Rate: $117

  • Average Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 70%

  • Average Airbnb Rental Income: $2,287

  • Median Property Price: $202,240

  • Average Price per Square Foot: $103

  • Average Days on Market: 14

  • Walk Score: 57

2. Pascagoula, MS

  • Average Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 9.85%

  • Average Airbnb Cap Rate: 10.67%

  • Average Airbnb Daily Rate: $92

  • Average Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 49%

  • Average Airbnb Rental Income: $1,669

  • Median Property Price: $191,940

  • Average Price per Square Foot: $101

  • Average Days on Market: 80

  • Walk Score: 57

3. Durham, CT

  • Average Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 9.73%

  • Average Airbnb Cap Rate: 9.92%

  • Average Airbnb Daily Rate: $252

  • Average Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 62%

  • Average Airbnb Rental Income: $6,063

  • Median Property Price: $659,080

  • Average Price per Square Foot: $202

  • Average Days on Market: 181

  • Walk Score: 38

4. Barnhart, MO

  • Average Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 9.60%

  • Average Airbnb Cap Rate: 10.12%

  • Average Airbnb Daily Rate: $104

  • Average Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 73%

  • Average Airbnb Rental Income: $2,337

  • Median Property Price: $244,553

  • Average Price per Square Foot: $147

  • Average Days on Market: 23

  • Walk Score: 18

5. Tallassee, AL

  • Average Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 9.57%

  • Average Airbnb Cap Rate: 10.28%

  • Average Airbnb Daily Rate: $232

  • Average Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 50%

  • Average Airbnb Rental Income: $2,256

  • Median Property Price: $238,580

  • Average Price per Square Foot: $120

  • Average Days on Market: 70

  • Walk Score: 37

6. Hobart, IN

  • Average Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 9.41%

  • Average Airbnb Cap Rate: 9.72%

  • Average Airbnb Daily Rate: $141

  • Average Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 66%

  • Average Airbnb Rental Income: $3,420

  • Median Property Price: $303,969

  • Average Price per Square Foot: $132

  • Average Days on Market: 23

  • Walk Score: 58

7. Harper Woods, MI

  • Average Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 9.37%

  • Average Airbnb Cap Rate: 9.73%

  • Average Airbnb Daily Rate: $157

  • Average Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 72%

  • Average Airbnb Rental Income: $3,380

  • Median Property Price: $156,617

  • Average Price per Square Foot: $132

  • Average Days on Market: 23

  • Walk Score: 43

8. Mayflower, AR

  • Average Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 8.95%

  • Average Airbnb Cap Rate: 9.52%

  • Average Airbnb Daily Rate: $149

  • Average Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 69%

  • Average Airbnb Rental Income: $1,869

  • Median Property Price: $378,627

  • Average Price per Square Foot: $160

  • Average Days on Market: 63

  • Walk Score: 34

9. Knoxville, IA

  • Average Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 8.87%

  • Average Airbnb Cap Rate: 9.32%

  • Average Airbnb Daily Rate: $145

  • Average Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 45%

  • Average Airbnb Rental Income: $2,342

  • Median Property Price: $233,760

  • Average Price per Square Foot: $134

  • Average Days on Market: 28

  • Walk Score: 62

10. Port Wentworth, GA

  • Average Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 8.36%

  • Average Airbnb Cap Rate: 8.61%

  • Average Airbnb Daily Rate: $181

  • Average Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 57%

  • Average Airbnb Rental Income: $3,736

  • Median Property Price: $296,141

  • Average Price per Square Foot: $174

  • Average Days on Market: 28

  • Walk Score: 25

Summary

Airbnb rentals have been gaining popularity over the past few years as means of alternative accommodation. Many travelers and vacation-goers are foregoing hotel rooms since short-term rentals are more affordable and offer more comfortable experiences. This presents a great opportunity for investors who remain attracted to Airbnbs due to the good return on investment potential and the flexibility they come with.

Before investing in an Airbnb rental, though, you must ensure that you’re investing in the correct location. The location determines your property’s occupancy rate as well as how much rental income you can earn.

The locations listed above are the best Airbnb markets in 2022 as they offer the highest return. So, what are you waiting for?


Mashvisor is an industry-leading source of residential real estate data and analytics in the US market. We help investors find profitable long-term and Airbnb rental properties quickly and confidently. We’ve turned 3 months of real estate research and analysis into 15 minutes.


Ready to start taking advantage of the current opportunities in the real estate market?

Whether you’re brand new to investing or have closed a few deals, our new online real estate class will cover everything you need to know to help you get started with real estate investing. Expert investor Than Merrill explains the best real estate strategies to help get you on the path towards a better financial future.

Register for our FREE 1-Day Real Estate Webinar and get started learning how to invest in today’s real estate market!