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Vacation rentals are becoming increasingly popular as travelers look for budget-friendly accommodation in some of the most popular destinations in the country. Rentals provide an authentic, local experience for vacation-goers and lucrative money-making opportunities for homeowners.

Have you ever wondered which markets provide the most lucrative opportunities for homeowners? Recently, Airdna crunched numbers and analyzed hundreds of thousands of rental listings. The result? A fascinating insight into the most profitable cities for Airbnb investments. Here at Pillow, we’ve used this data, as well as other facts and figures, and created a list of some of the most popular short-term rental destinations in the country.

1. Los Angeles

With its year-round warm weather, cinematic cityscape and world-class entertainment, sunny L.A. lures travelers from across the world who want beautiful beaches, boutique shopping and a cornucopia of cultural landmarks. According to TripAdvisor, L.A. is the 23rd most popular city to visit in the country, making it one of the most profitable places for Airbnb investments. Here, one-bedroom apartments cost, on average, $1750 per month, with average Airbnb revenue totaling $2,547 per month, netting homeowners a substantial profit. The average Airbnb occupancy rate stands at an impressive 76 percent in America’s Second City, outranking other tourist-popular metropolises like Atlanta (70 percent) and Las Vegas (60 percent). Year-over-year rental listing growth has increased by 88 percent and the city is especially popular with travelers who own or rent a car.

2. San Francisco

San Francisco, the home of Airbnb, lies just over 380 miles from L.A. Famed for iconic landmarks like Union Square, Alcatraz Island and the California Academy of Sciences, the Golden Gate City attracted 4.1 million visitors during spring 2015, up from the same period in 2014. Here, an average two-bedroom apartment costs $3,751 per month, substantially more than in L.A. ($2,365); however, with average monthly Airbnb revenue amounting to a hefty $5,352, homeowners are set up to make a tidy profit. According to research from Connotate Inc. and, Pacific Heights, and Russian Hill are the most expensive San Fran neighborhoods for travelers who want to rent a home, costing $360 and $296 per week respectively. Vacation rentals are also spread across the City – unlike the 34,000 hotel rooms, which are centered around Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square and Moscone Center – offering travelers more choice when it comes to accommodation.

3. Seattle

Encircled by some of the best natural landscapes in the Pacific North West, Seattle is a tourist hotspot for travelers who want to combine a city break with an outdoor activity vacation. A 2015 study revealed that Seattle tourism has reached record levels – with visitors spending a huge $6.4 billion in Seattle and King County in 2014 – making it a great time for property owners to rent their home. Here, an average one-bedroom home costs $1,380 per month, more than nearby Portland ($1,109). Seattle also outranks the City of Roses when it comes to Airbnb revenue, with homeowners making an average of $2,515 per month, compared to Portland’s $2,325.

When it comes to larger properties, there’s also money to made: An average two-bed home costs, on average, $1,891 per month, while average Airbnb revenue totals $2,577 per month, netting homeowners a cool $686 in profit. Average occupancy rate for a two-bed in the Emerald City stands at 65 percent, more than Austin (57 percent), Las Vegas (55 percent) and New Orleans (54 percent). Seattle rentals are popular with travelers who crave amenities as 80 percent of Airbnb properties have a washer-dryer.

4. New York City

New York City is the most visited U.S. city by foreign travelers, many of whom flock to Manhattan to see historic sights such as the Empire State Building and Times Square. NYC homeowners could generate some serious moolah in the short term rental market. The average cost of a two-bed property costs $3,163 per month but homeowners could more than double that if they rent it to Airbnb users, with average monthly revenue totaling $6,551 – the highest in the U.S. The average occupancy rate for a two-bed is a whopping 83 percent, suggesting homeowners can easily attract holidaymakers who want central Big Apple accommodation. According to data from Airbnb, typical annual host income is around $5,110, providing fruitful opportunities for property owners.

5. San Diego

With attractions such as the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Petco Park, and SeaWorld, it’s no wonder that San Diego entices travelers looking for vacation rentals. There are more than 3,100 rentals listed on Airbnb in this Californian coastal city, with nearly half of them in the Pacific Beach, La Jolla, Mission Beach, North Park, Ocean Beach and East Village neighborhoods. What does this mean for holiday-goers? More choice and an alternative to conventional downtown hotels.

The average monthly cost of a two-bedroom property in San Diego? $1,760. But with average Airbnb revenue averaging $2,700 a month, homeowners can expect to make $940 in profit. For homes at the 90th percentile – which could generate as much as $4,061 per month in average Airbnb revenue – property owners in America’s Finest City could harvest a massive $2,301.

By: Todd Conway

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