June kicked off a mammoth summer for U.S. short-term rentals, with lead times normalizing and demand high, reports AirDNA. Summer travel starts strong with record occupancy levels.
The U.S. short-term rental industry posted another strong month as occupancy rose to an all-time high of 70.2% in June 2021, a full 20% higher than June 2019. This is the first time the U.S. has exceeded an average occupancy of 70%.
“Longer lead times and higher demand mean hosts can get high occupancy, even at higher rates,” – Jamie Lane, AirDNA
The July 4th holiday weekend is historically one of highest demand weekends and the biggest winners in 2021 relative to 2020 were markets in the Hawaiian Islands, where demand more than doubled for the weekend.
In Maui, demand was up over 230% vs the same weekend in 2020. Resort cities in the U.S. saw the biggest gains over 2019 for the Fourth of July weekend where Fort Lauderdale (+36%), Phoenix/Scottsdale (+35%), and Cape Coral/Fort Myers (+32%), each had more than 30% growth in demand for the weekend.
Book Ahead? Too Late in Top Destinations
Booking lead times, typically around 30-90 days from confirmation to arrival, peak in the summer as limited available supply leads guests to book their rentals months in advance to secure the best homes.
“Monitoring lead times is key to making smart pricing decisions,” said Jamie Lane, VP of Research at AirDNA. “In May 2020, lead times dropped as low as 18 days, with guests delaying booking decisions. The natural response was to discount your listing, but now as lead times normalize hosts can have much more confidence their unit will book, even at higher rates.” The median lead time in June 2021 was 59 days, catching up to the 62 days in June 2019.
Demand Is Hot, but Can Investors Capitalize on It?
New U.S. short-term rental unit additions reached 55k in June and are now at the highest level since the start of the pandemic, but just shy of the average of 60k new units per month that were being added between 2017 and 2019.
“With a strong summer on the books and the fall looking positive, many industry participants are setting their sights on making new investments in the sector,” said Scott Shatford, AirDNA CEO. “Seeing the positive returns that hosts are realizing by investing in short-term rentals and record high demand, we expect continued strong investment.”