Top Growing US Vacation Rental Markets

In this article we investigate the growing US vacation rental markets, comparing reservation levels through May with those recorded in May 2019. Not only do we identify the American hotspots emerging in the wake of the pandemic, but in analyzing the short-term rental data, we pick up on trends within these top performers.

Read on for the top growing US vacation rental markets, their size, destination type, rate evolution, summer occupancy and summer pricing, as well as geographical trends and growth data.

Top 50 Growing US Vacation Rental Markets

We took the largest 500 vacation rental markets in the United States in order to focus on the significant growth areas. In taking the top 10% of these by reservation growth, we observed the following patterns:

  •  Non-urban markets are flourishing

In fact, 90% of the top 50 recovered vacation rental markets are non-urban. 46% were beach and lake destinations while 44% were rural or mountainous locations.

  • Prices have increased in 2021

Rates in these markets in were 22% higher in May 2021 than in May 2019 on average. Only 8% of destinations saw a decrease; the average in May 2021 was $226 per night. 

  • Confidence in summer vacation rental demand is high

In addition to inflated May booked rates, rates advertised for the summer months are 21% higher than those advertised at this time in 2019 at $237. Examples from the top 5 can be seen below. This reflects the increase in demand noted in these markets.

  • Justifiably, as Summer occupancy is significantly increased

Occupancy on the books for July and August is currently 43% up compared with the same point in 2019. Only 8% of markets have seen a decrease.

  • Southern markets, particularly in Florida and North Carolina are experiencing the greatest demand

16 states are represented in the top 50, with Florida accounting for 14 markets, and North Carolina 10 – almost 50% between them! Indeed, 78% of top markets are located in Southern states.

  • It’s not just recovery; it’s growth!

The average reservations growth of our top 50 growing markets is a huge 89% from May 2019-2021. This constitutes a very significant growth in demand for these destinations, not just a recovery!

Top 5 Growing US Vacation Rental Markets

Dunmore, WV

Dunmore is a resort town with 444 listed short-term rentals. With its local access to Snowshoe and other ski resorts, it has seen our biggest increase of 223% in reservations in 2021 compared with 2019, with rates 10% higher ($213). Summer occupancy and advertised rates are up 21% and 38% respectively.

Atlantic Beach, NC

Atlantic Beach is, as the name suggests, a beach town! Situated on North Carolina’s Bogue Banks are its 546 vacation rentals. Reservations in May 2021 were up 213% on 2019, while ADR was 13% up at $215. While Summer occupancy is 35% higher this year, advertised rates are interestingly 21% reduced on average.

Pompano Beach, FL

Another beach town, this time in Florida, Pompano Beach is also known for its dive sites on wrecks and reefs. It is the largest destination of our top 5 with 1784 rentals currently listed. The vacation rental data indicates a 194% increase in reservations, and a May ADR of $176 (+19%). Summer occupancy is up a huge 71%, with advertised rates also increased to $185.

Williamsburg, VA

Williamsburg’s significant role in the American Revolution brings it much in the way of tourism. Surrounded by rural space, it is home to 1226 vacation rentals that saw 188% more reservations in the May of this year than 2019. May booked and Summer advertised rates were marginally increased at 6% and 11% respectively. Summer occupancy meanwhile was up a respectable 59%.

Haines City, FL

The Tampa Bay area gives us Haines City, a rural destination located on the Lake Wales Ridge. Reservations of the 788 listed short-term rentals were up 174% in May. Booked ADR in May was up 12%, while advertised rates for the Summer are 17% increased over 2019 ($167). Occupancy this Summer is currently 57% higher than at this point in 2019.

Vacation Rental Data Take-homes

Non-urban inventory continues to ride a wave of demand in the resurgence of travel, with all of our top 5 growing US markets beach, mountain or rural centered. And this seems to set to continue, with Summer occupancy 43% increased on average across our 90% non-urban top 50 cohort.

Overall the news is positive – many markets are enjoying not just a recovery, but a growth in demand over and above what they could expect. With the vacation rental data telling us that rates are over 20% increased on 2019, it is clear that confidence in demand has returned, as indeed has occupancy this Summer!


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