Airbnb rentals have recovered and exceeded pre-COVID levels after an earlier slump in the pandemic, although this recovery has generally favored some communities over others.
That’s according to a new report from AirDNA, a tracking company that analyzes short-term rentals. The report first sheds light on the early impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Airbnb, noting that the company “lost 5 percent of its total listings” between January and June last year. However, Airbnb has “since recovered, growing 2.5 percent from pre-pandemic levels”.
In total, according to the report, there are now more than 5.4 million active entries on Airbnb, more than the established hoteliers Hilton, Marriot and Holiday Inn parent IHG combined.
All of this is hands down good news for Airbnb, which only went public in December. AirDNA’s report also comes just weeks after Airbnb posted a record number of bookings in February.
Despite the growing interest in short-term rentals, however, not all markets are benefiting equally. The latest report explicitly states that small towns, rural areas and “destination / vacation areas” performed best in terms of supply of rental units.
“As of February 2021, a mix of mountain and coastal areas has received most of the new offers available,” the report explains.
The report specifically mentions Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Tampa, Florida; Fredericksburg, Texas; and the Ozark mountain region, which has received new offers for Airbnb rental units, among other things. Unique units – places like lighthouses, yurts, and tiny houses – have also proven popular.
“These offerings blossomed as guests sought out special experiences in remote areas and continued to attract above-average occupancy as travelers look for new things to do in their home country,” the report said.
On the other hand, some areas have problems and their supply of short-term rental units remains low. In Canada, for example, 40 percent of Airbnb’s offerings were concentrated in just three cities – Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal – and together these three markets lost 22 percent of their active supply over the past year, compared to a decline of just 3.5 percent overall Rest of Canada. “
In Australia and the UK, the supply of Airbnb units also decreased on a net basis, while Brazil, China, the US and several other countries saw net increases. France was the country with the largest increase in active Airbnb units.
In a number of other markets, property owners have temporarily or permanently removed units in response to falling demand. The available offers in Amsterdam were down 45 percent in February compared to the previous year. In New York City they were down more than 38 percent.
The report points to New York City, Toronto, and Beijing as places where Airbnb list drops can be permanent.
On the flip side, the report said, “Orlando was one of only two top 25 markets to have actually received listings throughout the pandemic as Florida restrictions eased before most other US states.”
Despite the uneven recovery, the AirDNA report ultimately concludes that “demand for short-term rentals is likely to show a significant recovery in 2021 as vaccines continue to roll out and pent-up demand accelerates bookings around the world.”
“In the near future,” the report said, “the markets that performed best in 2020 will continue to shine in 2021, and investors should now position themselves to add new supply ahead of the upcoming high seasons.”
Email Jim Dalrymple II