Jun 26, 2023 - Business

Portland short-term rental hosts earn well above U.S. median

Note: Available listings are defined as properties with at least one day booked or available during the month; Data: AirDNA; Chart: Axios Visuals

As the stock of short-term rentals rose nationally, Portland Airbnb hosts made 64% more than the typical U.S. host last year, according to company figures on median host earnings shared with Axios.

Why it matters: Host earnings are affected by the demand for a destination combined with the supply of short-term rentals, Airbnb tells Axios, so these figures give a glimpse into both the popularity of Portland and the availability of places to stay.

The big picture: The national short-term rental supply reached record levels in 2022, swelling 20% year-over-year to 1.3 million listings, per new data from AirDNA, a short-term rental analysis firm.

By the numbers: The typical Airbnb host in Portland earned approximately $23,000 in 2022, compared to the national median of $14,000, per Airbnb data.

Zoom in: The Airbnb numbers didn't surprise Portland short-term rental hosts.

  • Samantha Bishop, who rents out a studio over her garage, mentioned Portland's restrictions on building accessory dwelling units — which come with either high development fees or a 10-year promise to rent only by the month or longer.
  • "It's so difficult to get a short-term rental," she told Axios. "I think it does really cause the Airbnb market to thrive."
  • Dave Monnie, who rents out a basement apartment in Sellwood, said demand depends on what other overnight options are available nearby. "We get a lot of people that come to Sellwood to visit friends or family, and there's no hotels here," he told Axios.

Context: Portland's downtown and Lloyd districts — where hotels are concentrated — see strong performance for private short-term rentals as well, according to data provided to Axios by Travel Portland.

  • In April 2023, hotels in that area had a 55.4% occupancy rate and an average daily cost of $165.
  • Private short-term rentals in the same area — of entire properties only — saw 63.5% occupancy at an average daily cost of $189.

Of note: A majority of U.S. census tracts have at least one Airbnb listing but no hotels, writes Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick.

Pro tips: To maximize return, Monnie recommends learning what it takes to be listed as a superhost — and live in your rental unit for a few days to see what's missing.

  • Bishop, who also mentors new hosts, says to go for high occupancy over high nightly charges to come up on platform algorithms as a popular spot. Also, consider doing your own cleaning between guests.

Be smart: Portland short-term rental rules require hosts to get an annual permit, notify neighbors and pay taxes, which can be done through rental platforms.

What we're watching: Although summer demand for short-term rentals is expected to be high, the research firm AirDNA has flagged 2023 as a "year of moderation," with an expected drop in revenue per rental. If that happens, it would be the first time since 2014, when the company began collecting data.

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