The Best Short-Term Rental Markets of 2024 (and Where to Avoid)

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By Nick Pisano Updated May 6, 2024


🏘 What is the best short-term rental market of 2024? 🏘

Tampa, Florida, took the top spot thanks to a high number of suitable properties and strong growth in property values. Among the top five markets, four — Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Miami — are located in the Sunshine State, making Florida the best state for those looking to invest in short-term rentals.

Best Airbnb Cities, Ranked | Top 15 Short-Term Rental Markets | Rankings by Category | 10 Worst Airbnb Markets | Hotels vs. Short-Term Rentals for Travelers | Positive Views of Airbnb | Methodology | FAQ

Nearly 17 years ago, the way Americans travel changed forever. That's when two friends launched Airbnb to provide travelers with more options for accommodations and property owners with a new way to earn money from their extra space. What started as an air mattress on the floor of a San Francisco apartment has grown into a vast network of nearly 8 million properties worldwide, bringing the more than 5 million hosts over $250 billion in revenue from 1.5 billion stays. 

In the years since, short-term rental services have evolved to offer a diverse range of properties, from funky trailers and gorgeous villas to simple, yet comfortable, spaces for travelers looking for a homier experience than a typical hotel. Meanwhile, competitors, such as Vrbo, have also grown their presence, further expanding the market. 

Naturally, this has drawn the interest of investors, attracted by the often impressive profits compared to most traditional real estate. But like any other real estate purchase, not every market offers the same benefits or hurdles, meaning it’s critical to pick the right spot for a short-term rental investment. Investors need to consider factors ranging from the availability of properties and their price to the interest and demand in the market. 

For 2024, Tampa, Florida, earned the distinction of the nation’s best short-term rental market, followed by nearby Orlando and Jacksonville. All three enjoy strong demand and an above-average number of properties suitable for Airbnbs. On the flip side, San Jose, California, came in last among the cities evaluated, a result of some of the highest real estate prices in the U.S. 

To determine the best Airbnb city of 2024, Clever Real Estate partnered with, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based short-term rental investment platform, to crunch the numbers for the 50 biggest metro areas in the U.S. using the following parameters for each city: 

  • 4x: Median home sale price 
  • 4x: Rabbu return-on-investment (ROI) score
  • 3x: Occupancy rate
  • 3x: Average annual revenue for property owners
  • 3x: Property value change in the last five years
  • 2x: Google search volume for terms related to short-term rentals
  • 1x: Rabbu’s percentage of listings suitable for Airbnb
  • 1x: Zillow current property values
  • 1x: Number of total listings 

Meanwhile, a survey of 1,000 Americans revealed important details about when and why they’d choose a short-term rental over a hotel. About two-thirds of those staying somewhere for a month or more (68%) or traveling with a pet (63%) would opt for an Airbnb, as would more than half (53%) of those taking trips with their kids. 

In addition, more than three-quarters of Americans (76%) say they have a positive image of Airbnb. However, almost all respondents (96%) also saw notable downsides to short-term rentals, including misleading property descriptions, a lack of on-site help, and concerns about safety. 

Read on to learn more about the top short-term rental markets and what potential guests are looking for in an Airbnb.

🏙 Best Airbnb Markets Statistics 

  • Tampa, Florida, is the country's top short-term rental market due to quickly rising property values and strong occupancy and revenue. San Jose, California is the worst, due to elevated home prices and relatively few suitable properties.
  • Outside of Florida, Ohio is the only state with more than one city in the top 15, with Columbus at No. 6 and Cleveland at No. 15.
  • Regionally, the top 15 markets are relatively evenly distributed. The South has the most (5), followed by the Northeast (4) and Midwest (4).
    • The West lagged behind with just two of the top 15 short-term rental markets.
  • Cities in California and Texas take four of the bottom five spots, primarily because of high real estate prices or lower-than-average occupancy rates. 
  • When looking solely at return on investment, Cleveland is the top short-term rental city, followed by Hartford, Connecticut, and Kansas City, Missouri. 
  • Denver Airbnbs have the highest occupancy rate (50%), with Boston (49%) and San Diego (47%) close behind.
    • Riverside, California, and Houston Airbnbs are the least occupied, at 33%.
  • Miami has the most available properties, with more than 6x the median city.
  • Tampa has seen the fastest property value increases in the past five years, growing 71.6%. Miami property prices grew the second most (66.1%), followed by Charlotte, North Carolina (65.2%).
    • New Orleans saw, by far, the slowest growth over the same period — just 11.6%.
  • When choosing between a hotel and a short-term rental, Americans say their top factors are affordable price (67%), good reviews (57%), and convenient location (56%). 
  • ​​Airbnbs are preferred by those staying for a month or more (68%), traveling with pets (63%), staying for two weeks (58%), or traveling with children (53%).
  • More than three-quarters of Americans (76%) say they have a positive image of Airbnb.  
  • Approximately 60% say short-term rentals are nicer than hotels, and two-thirds (67%) say they’re more comfortable.
  • Despite an overall positive view of Airbnbs, 96% identified one or more downsides of short-term rentals.
    • Inaccurate property descriptions (43%), a lack of on-site help (41%), and safety or security concerns (40%) are the most frequently cited. 
  • Roughly 1 in 6 Americans (17%) have concerns about the impact of short-term rentals on housing availability and affordability.

The Best Airbnb Cities, Ranked

RankCityMedian Sale PriceTotal Listings% Suitable as Airbnbs*Airbnb Occupancy Rate, Last 12 MonthsAvg. Annual Airbnb RevenueGoogle Trends Score**Avg. ROI Score***Typical Property ValueProperty Value Change, Last 5 Years
1Tampa, FL$362,43216,0202.06%45%$52,70530.450$375,56271.6%
2Orlando, FL$375,63611,0255.63%46%$42,33868.249$391,70561.8%
3Jacksonville, FL$333,9197,8071.90%44%$56,87813.349$352,94258.9%
4Boston, MA$631,5425,4970.22%49%$89,08144.459$664,49140.7%
5Miami, FL$441,24340,5042.64%41%$62,95782.645$477,91766.1%
6Buffalo, NY$232,6801,2792.43%40%$44,0938.958$244,82553.0%
6Columbus, OH$267,8963,4101.15%41%$46,49611.154$302,96855.4%
8Chicago, IL$300,35618,3260.32%43%$53,17362.256$305,23132.8%
9Providence, RI$412,1151,9821.02%45%$101,4832.257$454,84652.9%
10Kansas City, MO$289,8444,2380.40%44%$43,27310.960$294,15049.4%
11San Diego, CA$847,2584,0802.39%47%$78,08454.345$924,36555.1%
12Hartford, CT$318,9421,3250.00%42%$72,2050.060$340,25552.4%
13Nashville, TN$415,7485,8274.11%44%$53,02959.146$432,55753.7%
14Phoenix, AZ$438,70317,0061.04%42%$58,23928.346$452,15663.9%
15Cleveland, OH$180,3344,1700.82%38%$36,4608.764$215,91345.7%
16Las Vegas, NV$402,8347,3830.82%41%$55,95557.849$413,48544.5%
17St. Louis, MO$226,0775,7620.19%41%$39,5896.557$242,21441.9%
18Virginia Beach, VA$311,8894,5450.96%36%$65,61713.350$338,74942.6%
19Denver, CO$557,1496,8621.38%50%$47,27341.348$581,36739.3%
20New York, NY$574,44334,8290.14%40%$120,453100.051$634,65131.4%
21Cincinnati, OH$244,3653,7950.53%40%$37,3158.953$271,76650.7%
22Richmond, VA$341,5112,0370.24%45%$44,4906.749$355,53449.4%
23Washington DC$505,2848,0391.09%45%$62,05719.648$549,54731.4%
24Dallas, TX$381,34121,3670.47%39%$44,45242.249$371,77749.2%
25Philadelphia, PA$321,81510,6210.16%38%$44,05219.650$347,37146.4%
26Detroit, MI$233,3179,8720.63%35%$36,19510.955$240,53641.7%
27Louisville, KY$241,5273,0240.56%39%$40,7086.753$247,85640.8%
28Seattle, WA$664,2734,7411.31%47%$49,56037.043$719,21744.1%
29Memphis, TN$211,9854,3450.77%35%$31,0429.149$234,63554.7%
29Minneapolis, MN$341,9536,3550.18%44%$48,8094.552$363,01730.2%
31Milwaukee, WI$280,0202,7800.45%40%$36,3594.556$327,77843.2%
32New Orleans, LA$243,4994,9511.40%40%$42,01537.047$235,15011.6%
33Atlanta, GA$351,34919,5290.99%34%$39,78653.341$376,06361.9%
34Salt Lake City, UT$502,3812,4890.93%46%$41,6566.544$533,35453.7%
35Charlotte, NC$354,3377,1390.56%38%$40,52423.943$373,20665.2%
36Los Angeles, CA$895,60413,7370.63%42%$75,12244.439$935,80141.1%
37Portland, OR$519,5095,2531.16%45%$40,06028.946$538,27734.7%
38Baltimore, MD$339,2754,8680.48%37%$58,1464.350$373,45431.6%
39Indianapolis, IN$261,3725,1160.73%36%$34,5568.945$270,02656.6%
40Austin, TX$454,3139,0692.05%39%$43,19841.339$458,17949.4%
41Pittsburgh, PA$196,2935,1920.54%41%$32,94410.943$202,45435.0%
42Oklahoma City, OK$222,2765,3400.45%38%$27,5262.348$229,52947.8%
43San Francisco, CA$1,066,4834,5270.23%46%$69,86528.940$1,132,27120.8%
44Riverside, CA$535,38811,1246.47%33%$63,3982.241$569,20854.0%
45Raleigh, NC$411,4652,6690.19%43%$37,2054.344$435,90656.9%
45Sacramento, CA$547,0003,4860.86%40%$66,8624.347$568,27936.6%
47Houston, TX$319,43521,7981.62%33%$39,25747.841$303,00241.1%
48San Antonio, TX$306,62910,1201.34%34%$39,29821.743$283,64239.9%
49Birmingham, AL$228,2433,8520.53%35%$29,8472.344$247,70245.4%
50San Jose, CA$1,447,9551,2960.41%44%$56,7676.535$1,554,12827.4%
*Rabbu deemed a property suitable as an Airbnb by analyzing property listings for keywords related to short-term rentals as well as those closely related to Airbnb-friendly features.
**Indexed from 0-100, with 100 representing the most web searches.
***Rabbu's measure of return on investment for a typical property, indexed from 1-100.

The 15 Best Short-Term Rental Markets

1. Tampa, FL

🏖 Tampa BUY?
No major city has seen its property values grow more over the past five years than Tampa, where they spiked 71.6%. That’s more than 55% higher than the median city in our study.

The Tampa housing market has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of Florida’s rapid population growth in recent years, with homeowners and investors of all types snapping up properties. It’s easy to see why there’s such a strong demand for short-term rentals in the region, which includes some of the country’s best beaches and fishing spots alongside several pro sports teams and attractions such as Busch Gardens amusement park. It’s also a popular destination for seasonal "snowbird" residents looking to escape colder northern climates during the winter. 

Despite all this, Tampa’s typical property value is still just $375,562, very close to our study's median value of $372,491. Tampa's affordable property value may be tied to how many properties are on the market — 16,020, according to Zillow. That's more than 3x the median city (5,297). About 2.06% of them are suitable to be Airbnbs, the seventh-highest among cities studied and a whopping 160% above the median.

Tampa also performs solidly in other critical categories, including an occupancy rate of 44.8% — 10% higher than the typical city — and an average annual revenue of $52,705 — 18.5% higher than the median. 

Top local markets: Ruskin, FL (ROI score: 71; occupancy rate: 42%) and Port Richey, FL (ROI score: 67; occupancy rate: 38%)

» Read more stats on Florida

2. Orlando, FL

🎢 The (2nd) Most Magical Place on Earth (for Airbnb Rental Owners) 
It could hardly be easier to find a short-term rental property in Orlando, with 5.63% of listings suitable for an Airbnb. That’s good for second-highest in the U.S. and more than 7x the median city in our study. 

That high percentage of homes available for Airbnb is significant in absolute numbers, too. Zillow data shows 11,025 listed properties in Orlando, more than double the median city (5,297). 

Tourists flock to the Orlando area from across the country and around the globe, drawn by the area’s collection of theme parks, such as Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, LEGOLAND Florida, and more. These world-famous, family-friendly attractions lead to the third-highest Google Trends score among cities studied and help keep rentals filled, giving Orlando the sixth-highest occupancy rate at 45.9%.

Meanwhile, Orlando has also benefited from Florida’s recent population boom, seeing a 61.8% increase in property values over the past five years. That’s the sixth-most in the nation. 

Top local markets: Tavares, FL (ROI score: 65; occupancy rate: 43%) and Leesburg, FL (ROI score: 61; occupancy rate: 39%)

3. Jacksonville, FL

🌞 Sunshine on a Budget
Jacksonville has been another big winner as Florida has grown rapidly, seeing property values increase 58.9% over the past five years. Nevertheless, the typical sale price ($333,919) is still more affordable than the median city ($346,651).

Investors won’t have to hunt too hard for an Airbnb property in Jacksonville, as 1.9% of properties are suitable for short-term rentals. That’s more than 2x the median city (0.79%) and the ninth-highest in the U.S. Jacksonville also boasts 47.4% more listed properties than average. Although the median home sale price in Jacksonville is the 22nd-lowest, the city's short-term rentals bring in the 15th-highest average annual revenue at $56,878.  

Compared to other top Airbnb markets, Jacksonville benefits from relatively diverse guests. The coast offers some of Florida’s most popular beaches for vacationers and seasonal residents, while a large military presence and business community also bring a variety of short-term visitors and those relocating to the area. 

Top local markets: Ponte Vedra Beach, FL (ROI score: 68; occupancy rate: 49%) and Orange Park, FL (ROI score: 59; occupancy rate: 34%)

4. Boston, MA

💸 Big Bucks in Boston
Boston may be best known for its role in American history, but short-term rental investors likely know it as a source of serious cash. Airbnbs in the market bring in an average annual revenue of $89,081, more than double the typical city ($44,471) and the third-highest in our study. 

That kind of cash flow isn’t hard to figure out when investors consider the country’s second-best occupancy rate (49.3%) and the sixth-highest property value ($664,491). Altogether, it lands the city in fourth place when it comes to return on investment, with an ROI score of 58.5, 20.7% higher than average (48.5). 

Boston investors enjoy steady demand from tourists interested in history or the city’s beloved pro sports teams, along with some of the country’s most well-respected educational institutions and medical facilities. The interest results in a Google Trends score more than 3x than the typical city, which is good for 10th place overall. 

Top local markets: Salem, MA (ROI score: 71; occupancy rate: 54%) and Quincy, MA (ROI score: 70; occupancy rate: 42%)

» Read more stats on Massachusetts

5. Miami, FL

🌡 Hot Weather, Hot Market
Miami has a jaw-dropping 40,504 listed homes per Zillow data, the clear winner by more than 5,000 properties. The number of listed properties is more than 8x higher than the median city (5,297), presenting plenty of options for investors.

This diverse, internationally flavored city boasts the fourth-most listings suitable for Airbnbs, a rate that’s 3x higher than average (0.79%). There’s no denying Miami’s popularity these days, ranking second in Google search volume for Airbnb-related keywords. Its score of 82.6 is more than 6x that of the typical market. 

The greater Miami area is the most populated in Florida, providing a combination of warm weather and metropolitan living for recent transplants from other major cities. These new arrivals to the region have helped propel home prices up 66.1% over the past five years, second-best behind only Tampa. Despite this, prices are still only the 14th-highest, sitting at a median of $477,917.

Add in a steady flow of tourists, as well as domestic and international business travelers, and investors have all the makings of a top short-term rental market.

Top local markets: Deerfield Beach, FL (ROI score: 60; occupancy rate: 43%) and Boynton Beach, FL (ROI score: 58; occupancy rate: 42%)

6. Buffalo, NY (tie)

🌶 An Airbnb Market as Spicy as the Wings
Roughly 2.43% of property listings in Buffalo are Airbnb-ready, the fifth-best rate in the U.S. This is 3x higher than average (0.79%). 

In addition to high suitability, Buffalo offers a significant advantage over other short-term rental markets: one of the lowest median home sale prices in the U.S. The median price of $232,680 in Buffalo is the seventh-cheapest and more than $100,000 lower than the national price of $346,651. This can make it far easier for new investors or those with less capital to get started when they’d be shut out of bigger cities. 

But don’t mistake low prices for low demand. Property values in Buffalo have risen 53% over the past five years. Meanwhile, a mix of business travel, tourism to the Great Lakes and Niagara Falls, and games for the city’s various sports teams help produce a Rabbu ROI score of 58.1, the fifth-highest in our study. Plus, it can’t hurt to rank as one of the nation’s best pizza cities

Top local markets: Burt, NY (ROI score: 81; occupancy rate: 44%) and Lewiston, NY (ROI score: 80; occupancy rate: 36%)

» Read more stats on New York

6. Columbus, OH (tie)

🏟 R-O-I in O-H-I-O
Those looking for a strong return on investment should check out this Midwestern city, home to The Ohio State University and the state capital. Properties in Columbus have an average Rabbu ROI score 10.7% higher than the average city.

This appealing investment potential comes even as the median home sale price sits at just $267,896 — 23% lower than the typical city in our study ($346,651). That affordable price follows a 55.4% property value increase since 2019, the 10th-highest rate in the country. 

Whether hosting football fans in town for a big game or those doing business with the state government, finding a suitable short-term rental isn’t difficult in Columbus. About 1.15% of properties are ready to Airbnb, 44.4% higher than average. 

Top local markets: New Plymouth, OH (ROI score: 84; occupancy rate: 51%) and South Bloomingville, OH (ROI score: 82; occupancy rate: 51%)

» Read more stats on Ohio

8. Chicago, IL

🌬 Windy City Windfall
As one of the country’s largest cities popular with business and leisure travelers, Chicago short-term rental owners have plenty of potential guests. The Windy City has a Google Trends score of 62.2 is more than 4x higher than average (13.3) and the fourth-highest in the U.S.

Chicago’s large size also means plenty of available properties — 18,326, according to Zillow, which is the sixth-most in our study. Unlike many other large cities, Chicago is also relatively affordable. The market’s median home sale price of $300,356 is 13% lower than the typical city ($346,651). 

Typical properties in Chicago bring in an average of $53,173 in revenue per year, 19.6% more than the $44,471 in the median short-term rental market. When this strong income is paired with budget-friendly prices, it leads to the ninth-highest Rabbu ROI score in our study (55.9).

Top local markets: Evergreen Park, IL (ROI score: 80; occupancy rate: 45%) and Kenosha, WI (ROI score: 79; occupancy rate: 46%)

» Read more stats on Illinois

9. Providence, RI

💰 Rhode Island Revenue
Investors with their eyes on six-figure income properties may be surprised to find impressive opportunities in Providence, where Airbnbs have the second-highest average annual revenue among all cities studied. They bring in $101,483, compared to just $44,471 in the median city. 

This is likely fueled by an occupancy rate of a 10th-best 45%, leading to a Rabbu return-on-investment score that ranked as the seventh-highest among all cities studied (57.2). In addition, Providence (1.02%) has 29% more Airbnb-suitable properties than the average city (0.79%). 

Property owners in the capital city of the country’s smallest state (known for its history, numerous colleges, and respected medical facilities) have also enjoyed property value increases of 52.9% over the past five years, 14.8% higher than the typical city. 

Top local markets: Narragansett, RI (ROI score: 81; occupancy rate: 56%) and North Kingstown, RI (ROI score: 81; occupancy rate: 45%)

» Read more stats on Rhode Island

10. Kansas City, MO

🍖 BBQ and ROI
Midsize markets can often offer better return on investment than well-known large ones, and Kansas City is a perfect example. Its Rabbu ROI score of 60.1 is the third-highest among all cities studied and 24% higher than the average city (48.5). 

Although it may not have the glitz and glam of cities such as New York or Los Angeles, Kansas City sees a steady flow of short-term rental visitors attending sports games, conventions, or trying the city’s famous barbecue.

Investors in Kansas City benefit from a median home sale price of just $289,844, the 15th-lowest in our study and significantly less than the median of $346,651. It may be hard to believe these affordable prices still exist even after a 49.4% property value increase in the past five years.   

Top local markets: Kansas City, KS (ROI score: 73; occupancy rate: 48%) and Independence, MO (ROI score: 70; occupancy rate: 38%)

» Read more stats on Missouri

11. San Diego, CA

🏡 Suitable in SoCal
San Diego is home to the sixth-highest percentage of properties suitable to be used as a short-term rental. About 2.39% are ready for Airbnb use, compared to just 0.79% in the median city. 

San Diego calls itself “America’s Finest City,” and it’s no doubt among them when it comes to short-term rentals — not to mention coffee. It has the third-best occupancy rate of cities in our study at 47.1%, 15.4% higher than average (40.8%). San Diego Airbnbs also have an average annual revenue of $78,084, the fourth-highest. 

Investors should be prepared to pay more for properties than they would in other top short-term rental markets. A typical home in San Diego is valued at $924,365, following a 55.1% increase over the past five years. Still, the region’s incredible beaches, world-famous attractions such as Balboa Park, and numerous military facilities ensure plenty of visitors year-round. 

Top local markets: Bonita, CA (ROI score: 68; occupancy rate: 44%) and Borrego Springs, CA (ROI score: 67; occupancy rate: 37%)

» Read more stats on California

12. Hartford, CT

📈 Connecticut Cash
Although it’s not the best-known city on the list, Hartford offers short-term rental investors the second-highest return on investment of any city we studied, with a Rabbu ROI score 24.2% higher than average.

These strong returns are a result of affordable home prices and high revenue. Hartford’s median home sale price sits at $318,942, nearly $30,000 less than the national average ($346,651). Meanwhile, typical properties in the city bring in $72,205 in revenue per year, 62.4% higher than the median ($44,471). That’s the sixth-best in the country. 

Demand is primarily driven by the presence of numerous financial and insurance companies, as well as Connecticut’s state capital. These sources and others have helped push prices up 52.4% since 2019. 

Top local markets: Westbrook, CT (ROI score: 71; occupancy rate: 42%) and Old Saybrook, CT (ROI score: 52; occupancy rate: 42%)

» Read more stats on Connecticut

13. Nashville, TN

🎵 Short-Term Stars in Music City
Of the property listings evaluated in Nashville, 4.11% are suitable to be Airbnbs, the third-highest among cities in our study. That's more than 5x higher than the average city (0.79%).

The prevalence of Airbnb properties is great news for investors, as Nashville is among the most popular tourist destinations in the country, with the fifth-highest Google Trends score (59.1). The city regularly draws thousands of country music lovers, sports fans, and bachelor and bachelorette parties, while others come for conventions or to access Nashville’s nationally recognized health care systems. 

Short-term rental owners in Nashville can also expect $53,029 in average annual revenue, 19.2% more than the national median ($44,471). 

Top local markets: Kingston Springs, TN (ROI score: 64; occupancy rate: 37%) and Spring Hill, TN (ROI score: 56; occupancy rate: 47%)

» Read more stats on Tennessee

14. Phoenix, AZ

🏜 Home Prices Rising Like a Phoenix
Fast-growing Phoenix has seen some of the steepest property value increases of any city in the past five years, rising 63.9% over that period. That’s 38.9% higher than the national average. 

Phoenix also benefits from a huge number of available properties, with 17,006 on the market, according to Zillow data. That’s the seventh-most in the country, a ranking that makes sense considering data showing Phoenix is among the top U.S. cities for new home construction. In addition, 1.04% of Phoenix properties are suitable to be Airbnbs, 31% higher than the median city (0.79%). 

Powered by transplants relocating to the area, seasonal residents escaping the cold, and patients and students at top medical and educational institutions, each Phoenix unit brings in an average of $58,239 per year. The average annual revenue is 31% more than the typical short-term rental market ($44,471). 

Top local markets: Sun City, AZ (ROI score: 72; occupancy rate: 40%) and Surprise, AZ (ROI score: 64; occupancy rate: 44%)

» Read more stats on Arizona

15. Cleveland, OH

🎸 Cleveland (ROI) Rocks
The home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame should be just as well known for its short-term rental return on investment. It earned the highest Rabbu ROI score of any city in our study, 31% better than average.

It’s easy to see how investors achieve impressive returns in light of the city’s median home sale price of just $180,334 — the lowest of any city evaluated. Nevertheless, properties bring in an average annual revenue of $36,460, roughly a fifth of the purchase price.

It’s not just music nostalgia bringing visitors, either. Cleveland is home to numerous pro sports teams, as well as one of the nation’s most renowned medical facilities at the Cleveland Clinic. 

Top local markets: Willoughby, OH (ROI score: 80; occupancy rate: 46%) and Oberlin, OH (ROI score: 69; occupancy rate: 45%)

Top 5 Rankings by Category

The 10 Worst Airbnb Markets 

Not every city is well suited for Airbnb investors, whether that's because of high costs, low demand, a lack of appropriate housing, or strict local laws and regulations. These metros took the bottom spots in our ranking:

  1. San Jose, California
  2. Birmingham, Alabama
  3. San Antonio, Texas
  4. Houston, Texas
  5. Sacramento, California
  6. Raleigh, North Carolina
  7. Riverside, California
  8. San Francisco, California
  9. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  10. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Those familiar with California’s sky-high real estate prices likely aren’t surprised to see the Golden State take four of the bottom 10 spots. This can be a particular problem in the popular San Francisco Bay area, where San Jose found itself as the worst Airbnb market of 2024. 

Data showed San Jose has a median home sale price of $1,447,955, the highest among cities in our study. It's more than 4x the price in the typical city, where the median home costs $346,651. 

What’s worse, there are relatively few properties, even for investors who can afford them. San Jose has 1,296 listed properties, according to Zillow, the second-fewest among cities in our study and 76% fewer than the median city. Of the property listings evaluated, San Jose (0.41%) has about half as many as the average city (0.79%) that are suitable for Airbnbs. That’s good for 39th place out of 50. 

These conditions combine to create the nation’s lowest Rabbu return on investment score of 34.8 —  28% lower than the average city (48.5). With so many attractive markets elsewhere in the country, it’s hard to see many upsides of operating a short-term rental in this one, other than great weather and proximity to the heart of the tech industry.

Airbnb vs. Hotels: Price, Location, and Type of Trip Are Top Factors

Just as critical as picking the best market to buy a short-term rental is understanding the needs and concerns of those who’ll be staying there. Americans making their travel plans often have a choice between traditional hotels and Airbnbs, and a few key factors help them make that decision. The most important considerations are an affordable price (67%), good reviews (57%), and a convenient location (56%). 

However, 55% of Americans say the availability of amenities — such as Wi-Fi, a pool, and parking —  is also a critical factor when making a decision, followed by 45% who want privacy. 

Airbnbs are most strongly preferred by travelers on extended trips, including those staying two weeks (58%) or a month or more (68%). They’re also popular among those bringing the whole family along, such as travelers with children (53%) and pets (63%). 

Meanwhile, hotels come out on top for visitors traveling solo (58%), traveling to a foreign city where they don’t speak the language (48%), and traveling to an unfamiliar place (47%). 

Other types of travel, such as honeymoons and weekend getaways, were almost evenly split between Airbnbs and hotels. 

But the appeal of short-term rentals shines through in many ways. If cost wasn’t a factor, Americans prefer Airbnbs over hotels 46% to 30%.

More Than Three Quarters of Americans View Airbnb Positively

It’s hard to argue Americans aren’t happy with the expansion of the short-term rental market in the past decade. More than three-quarters of respondents (76%) have a positive opinion of Airbnb. Meanwhile, 60% say short-term rentals are nicer than hotels, 64% say they’re a better value, and 67% say they’re more comfortable. A similar percentage (62%) believe they’re more affordable in popular tourist destinations. 

Some of the advantages of staying in an Airbnb or Vrbo, according to respondents, include:

  • Having a larger living space (52%)
  • Access to amenities, such as a kitchen or laundry facilities (51%)
  • The ability to accommodate large groups in a single space (47%)
  • The variety of property types, from apartments to cottages and even treehouses (46%)
  • Greater privacy (46%)
  • The availability of pet-friendly options (40%)

However, a third or more also point to benefits such as more personalized and unique experiences (35%), flexible check-in and check-out times (35%), and the opportunity to stay in local neighborhoods and immerse in the culture (33%). 

Despite high-profile fights over short-term rentals in some cities as housing costs rise, more than three-quarters of Americans (76%) believe short-term rentals contribute positively to local economies

Safety and Security Are Top Downsides of Short-Term Rentals

Even amid the five-star reviews, there are still some concerns about staying in an Airbnb for nearly all respondents. Approximately 96% identified one or more negative aspects of short-term rentals. 

Nearly a third of Americans (30%) don’t trust Airbnb listings, while upwards of a quarter (28%) don’t believe the service’s costs are fair. Just 44% of respondents believe Airbnbs are safer than hotels, an issue that has likely grown in importance for many travelers as a result of rising crime in recent years.

Safety and security concerns are the third most-cited negative aspect of short-term rentals, mentioned by 40% of respondents. They’re only narrowly beaten out by concerns about inaccurate property descriptions (43%) and a lack of on-site staff for immediate assistance (41%). 

More than 1 in 3 Americans (37%) object to doing "chores" for the owner before checking out. This can range from taking out the trash to doing laundry or even more elaborate and time-consuming requests. However, Airbnb has cracked down on “unreasonable” cleaning requirements in recent years.

Some of Americans’ other most-cited drawbacks of short-term rentals include:

  • Uncertainty about the reliability of hosts and their responsiveness to needs (36%)
  • Lack of consistency in quality and cleanliness (35%)
  • Potential for unexpected fees or hidden costs (35%)

Americans' issues with Airbnbs extend beyond their own travel, too. Roughly 1 in 6 (17%) say they have concerns about the impact of short-term rentals on local housing availability and affordability.

Overall, only 57% of respondents say they look at Airbnb listings before booking a trip. This is true even as they say they’re over 2x more likely to report a bad experience at a hotel (54%) than at a short-term rental (25%). 

Some might see this as a sign of continued difficulty in overcoming the old habits of travelers who only consider hotels. However, it’s also evidence of how much untapped demand for short-term rentals could potentially be out there, ready for diligent investors to turn into cash. 


To obtain our city rankings, Clever Real Estate gathered data on a number of metrics, including: 

  • 18%: Median home sales price (Zillow) 
  • 18%: Return-on-investment score (Rabbu)
  • 14%: Occupancy rate (Rabbu)
  • 14%: Average annual revenue for property owners (Rabbu)
  • 14%: Property value change in the last five years (Zillow)
  • 9%: Google search volume for terms related to short-term rentals
  • 5%: Percentage of listings suitable for Airbnbs (Rabbu)
  • 5%: Current property values (Zillow)
  • 5%: Number of total listings (Zillow) 

Sources for data include Rabbu, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, AirDNA, Zillow, Google Trends, and the Bureau of Economic Research. Rabbu deemed a property suitable as an Airbnb by analyzing property listings for keywords related to short-term rentals as well as those closely related to Airbnb-friendly features. 

In addition, Clever Real Estate conducted a survey of 1,000 American adults discussing their preferences for using a short-term rental or a hotel while traveling. This survey was conducted March 21-22, 2024.

About Clever 

Since 2017, Clever Real Estate has been on a mission to make selling or buying a home easier and more affordable for everyone. 12 million annual readers rely on Clever's library of educational content and data-driven research to make smarter real estate decisions — and to date, Clever has helped consumers save more than $82 million on Realtor fees. Clever's research has been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, Inman, Housing Wire, and many more. 

About Rabbu

Rabbu is revolutionizing the short-term rental market by empowering investors with advanced, data-driven tools. Rabbu’s platform simplifies researching, buying, and selling short-term rentals, offering free market and property data to over 1 million users to date. In addition, Rabbu connects investors with a dedicated network of top-tier agents and lenders to help short-term rental investors reach their goals.

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What’s the worst short-term rental market?

San Jose, California, is the worst Airbnb market of 2024. Primarily due to high home values, it has the nation’s lowest Rabbu return-on-investment score of 34.8 — 28% lower than the average city. Learn more.

Why do people choose short-term rentals over hotels?

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Concerns about inaccurate property descriptions (43%), a lack of on-site staff for immediate assistance (41%), and safety and security (40% ) top the list of Airbnb drawbacks. Learn more.

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