May 28, 2024 - News

How much Airbnb tenants in Seattle can earn

A table showing Airbnb-friendly apartment earnings by U.S. Metro Areas. San Diego leads with average earnings at $9,200 per host
Data: Airbnb; Table: Axios Visuals; Note: An Airbnb-friendly apartment (AFA) building is one in which tenants can rent out their apartment part time

A growing number of apartment buildings are allowing tenants to bank extra cash by renting out their units for short stays through Airbnb.

Why it matters: Rental affordability has plunged in recent years, and those who rent are feeling especially bad about their finances, according to the Axios Vibes survey by The Harris Poll.

State of play: Tenants in the Seattle area who hosted on Airbnb typically earned about $5,000 a year, per 2023 figures shared with Axios.

  • Venn at Main and Ten20 in Bellevue and Zephyr on the Park in Redmond are among the 27 Seattle-area apartment buildings that allow renters to host part time, according to Airbnb's website.

Between the lines: While many landlords don't permit short-term rentals, some companies with big portfolios, such as Greystar, have joined Airbnb's apartment platform.

  • Apartments accounted for about 16% of U.S. Airbnb listings in April 2024, per AirDNA, a short-term rental analytics firm.

How it works: In 2022, Airbnb launched Airbnb-friendly apartments (AFA), a marketplace to help renters find apartment buildings where they can use their primary residences for part-time hosting.

  • The platform grew last year to include more than 400 apartment buildings across 43 markets nationwide.
  • Buildings that partner with Airbnb receive a share of the total booking revenue, typically between 5% and 25%.
  • Roughly 1,000 U.S. renters are currently hosting through the program, a number Airbnb hopes to boost.
The line chart shows the change from 2019 in the number of total Airbnb listings and apartments from January 2020 to April 2024. The data reveals a significant decrease in listings during 2020, with the lowest point in September. However, a steady recovery is observed from 2021 onwards, with a notable increase in total listings and apartments by 2024.
Data: AirDNA; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, but: There are lingering concerns that Airbnb's presence drives up rent and home prices in Seattle and across the state.

  • Last year, Mount Rainier National Park asked for help housing summer rangers after many nearby rentals were turned into Airbnbs.

The big picture: Seattle has taken steps to regulate the short-term rental marketplace in light of the affordable housing crisis.

  • Hosts must register with the city and acquire a business license tax certificate as well as a regulatory license, per the city.
  • In most cases, Airbnb operators in Seattle can only rent out two units.
  • Additionally, the state caps short-term rental durations at 30 days and requires residents to get a state business license and register with the Washington Department of Revenue.

What we're watching: Airbnb says it is advocating for short-term rental rules that would allow renters in more cities to share their space.


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