Top LocationsThe 30 Most Profitable Airbnb Locations in 2021: Cash on Cash Return by Daniela Andreevska March 17, 2021March 14, 2021 by Daniela Andreevska March 17, 2021March 14, 2021With the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, the situation in the US housing market 2021 is expected to start coming back to normal soon. This includes the Airbnb industry which was disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus pandemic due to lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and travelers’ concerns. Indeed, Mashvisor nationwide real estate market analysis reveals that the Airbnb occupancy rate is expected to be back on a sustainable growth path by September 2021. So, if you’re thinking of investing in real estate this year, you should definitely consider buying an Airbnb property. To help you locate a profitable investment opportunity, we provide you with a list of the 30 most profitable Airbnb locations for cash on cash return in the US market.30 Most Profitable Airbnb Locations 2021As a real estate investor eager to buy Airbnb property in 2021, you must be curious to find out the top markets for this investment strategy right away. So, let’s take a look at the 30 locations promising the highest return on investment for short-term rentals this year. Afterwards, we will discuss the real estate data used for this analysis, what these numbers mean, and other equally important considerations for Airbnb hosts.1. San Angelo, TXAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 7.6%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 74%Airbnb Daily Rate: $123Airbnb Rental Income: $3,290Median Property Price: $361,600Average Price per Square Foot: $155Listings for Sale: 155Airbnb Listings: 171Average Days on Market: 283Walk Score: 332. Chesapeake, VAAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 6.8%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 69%Airbnb Daily Rate: $157Airbnb Rental Income: $3,500Median Property Price: $331,900Average Price per Square Foot: $171Listings for Sale: 167Airbnb Listings: 100Average Days on Market: 65Walk Score: 193. Valdosta, GAAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 6.2%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 70%Airbnb Daily Rate: $95Airbnb Rental Income: $2,180Median Property Price: $286,700Average Price per Square Foot: $107Listings for Sale: 105Airbnb Listings: 219Average Days on Market: 39Walk Score: 334. Canton, OHAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 6.1%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 54%Airbnb Daily Rate: $106Airbnb Rental Income: $2,970Median Property Price: $201,000Average Price per Square Foot: $10Listings for Sale: 190Airbnb Listings: 133Average Days on Market: 70Walk Score: 455. Portsmouth, VAAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 6.1%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 65%Airbnb Daily Rate: $126Airbnb Rental Income: $2,470Median Property Price: $213,600Average Price per Square Foot: $135Listings for Sale: 155Airbnb Listings: 237Average Days on Market: 61Walk Score: 256. Independence, MOAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 6.0%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 61%Airbnb Daily Rate: $107Airbnb Rental Income: $1,700Median Property Price: $192,100Average Price per Square Foot: $115Listings for Sale: 142Airbnb Listings: 417Average Days on Market: 57Walk Score: 297. Eau Claire, WIAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 6.0%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 65%Airbnb Daily Rate: $127Airbnb Rental Income: $2,640Median Property Price: $305,400Average Price per Square Foot: $143Listings for Sale: 101Airbnb Listings: 186Average Days on Market: 98Walk Score: 298. Fayetteville, NCAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.9%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 71%Airbnb Daily Rate: $98Airbnb Rental Income: $2,160Median Property Price: $223,300Average Price per Square Foot: $147Listings for Sale: 696Airbnb Listings: 1,472Average Days on Market: 78Walk Score: 249. Springfield, MOAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.8%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 59%Airbnb Daily Rate: $100Airbnb Rental Income: $2,230Median Property Price: $285,700Average Price per Square Foot: $122Listings for Sale: 194Airbnb Listings: 1,094Average Days on Market: 64Walk Score: 3110. Fort Wayne, INAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.7%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 68%Airbnb Daily Rate: $82Airbnb Rental Income: $2,290Median Property Price: $262,800Average Price per Square Foot: $125Listings for Sale: 444Airbnb Listings: 3,932Average Days on Market: 71Walk Score: 3311. Jackson, MSAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.7%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 67%Airbnb Daily Rate: $97Airbnb Rental Income: $2,590Median Property Price: $280,000Average Price per Square Foot: $63Listings for Sale: 129Airbnb Listings: 1,688Average Days on Market: 127Walk Score: 2412. Riverside, CAAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.7%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 67%Airbnb Daily Rate: $156Airbnb Rental Income: $4,470Median Property Price: $542,600Average Price per Square Foot: $308Listings for Sale: 556Airbnb Listings: 162Average Days on Market: 51Walk Score: 3513. Johnson City, TNAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.7%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 61%Airbnb Daily Rate: $109Airbnb Rental Income: $2,110Median Property Price: $304,000Average Price per Square Foot: $119Listings for Sale: 120Airbnb Listings: 110Average Days on Market: 67Walk Score: 3014. Richardson, TXAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.7%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 67%Airbnb Daily Rate: $193Airbnb Rental Income: $3,470Median Property Price: $401,900Average Price per Square Foot: $187Listings for Sale: 127Airbnb Listings: 420Average Days on Market: NAWalk Score: 3815. Arlington, TXAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.6%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 62%Airbnb Daily Rate: $180Airbnb Rental Income: $2,750Median Property Price: $318,800Average Price per Square Foot: $150Listings for Sale: 450Airbnb Listings: 1,302Average Days on Market: 74Walk Score: 4116. Akron, OHAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.6%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 58%Airbnb Daily Rate: $85Airbnb Rental Income: $1,650Median Property Price: $150,400Average Price per Square Foot: $97Listings for Sale: 249Airbnb Listings: 224Average Days on Market: 61Walk Score: 4817. Bakersfield, CAAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.5%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 74%Airbnb Daily Rate: $135Airbnb Rental Income: $3,020Median Property Price: $381,000Average Price per Square Foot: $186Listings for Sale: 212Airbnb Listings: 447Average Days on Market: 67Walk Score: 2818. Ypsilanti, MIAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.4%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 67%Airbnb Daily Rate: $155Airbnb Rental Income: $2,490Median Property Price: $279,000Average Price per Square Foot: $157Listings for Sale: 102Airbnb Listings: 286Average Days on Market: 86Walk Score: 4119. Richmond, VAAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.4%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 65%Airbnb Daily Rate: $140Airbnb Rental Income: $2,940Median Property Price: $369,300Average Price per Square Foot: $198Listings for Sale: 790Airbnb Listings: 4,061Average Days on Market: 97Walk Score: 4620. Hattiesburg, MSAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.3%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 60%Airbnb Daily Rate: $98Airbnb Rental Income: $1,980Median Property Price: $268,100Average Price per Square Foot: $104Listings for Sale: 156Airbnb Listings: 405Average Days on Market: 81Walk Score: 3421. Visalia, CAAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.3%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 78%Airbnb Daily Rate: $84Airbnb Rental Income: $2,700Median Property Price: $394,200Average Price per Square Foot: $183Listings for Sale: 137Airbnb Listings: 114Average Days on Market: 84Walk Score: 4722. Columbus, GAAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.2%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 67%Airbnb Daily Rate: $98Airbnb Rental Income: $1,830Median Property Price: $254,800Average Price per Square Foot: $114Listings for Sale: 137Airbnb Listings: 722Average Days on Market: 95Walk Score: 3423. Springfield, ILAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.2%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 63%Airbnb Daily Rate: $100Airbnb Rental Income: $1,570Median Property Price: $162,600Average Price per Square Foot: $85Listings for Sale: 138Airbnb Listings: 1,094Average Days on Market: 94Walk Score: 4024. Roanoke, VAAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.2%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 68%Airbnb Daily Rate: $106Airbnb Rental Income: $2,410Median Property Price: $322,900Average Price per Square Foot: $130Listings for Sale: 101Airbnb Listings: 926Average Days on Market: 138Walk Score: 3725. Reno, NVAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.1%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 65%Airbnb Daily Rate: $142Airbnb Rental Income: $3,510Median Property Price: $381,900Average Price per Square Foot: $284Listings for Sale: 402Airbnb Listings: 207Average Days on Market: 87Walk Score: 1226. Tucson, AZAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.1%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 65%Airbnb Daily Rate: $102Airbnb Rental Income: $2,520Median Property Price: $320,700Average Price per Square Foot: $170Listings for Sale: 903Airbnb Listings: 6,388Average Days on Market: 51Walk Score: 4027. Norfolk, VAAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.1%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 62%Airbnb Daily Rate: $158Airbnb Rental Income: $2,570Median Property Price: $308,400Average Price per Square Foot: $167Listings for Sale: 267Airbnb Listings: 1,606Average Days on Market: 77Walk Score: 4128. San Marcos, TXAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.0%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 46%Airbnb Daily Rate: $177Airbnb Rental Income: $3,120Median Property Price: $324,900Average Price per Square Foot: $171Listings for Sale: 157Airbnb Listings: 313Average Days on Market: 107Walk Score: 3329. Chico, CAAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.0%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 69%Airbnb Daily Rate: $152Airbnb Rental Income: $3,560Median Property Price: $535,700Average Price per Square Foot: $300Listings for Sale: 200Airbnb Listings: 255Average Days on Market: 62Walk Score: 6230. Wichita, KSAirbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.0%Airbnb Occupancy Rate: %66Airbnb Daily Rate: $95Airbnb Rental Income: $2,030Median Property Price: $240,700Average Price per Square Foot: $111Listings for Sale: 145Airbnb Listings: 881Average Days on Market: 81Walk Score: 36Related: 2021 Cash on Cash Return by City: What to Expect as a Real Estate InvestorWhat About Airbnb Laws and Regulations in These Markets?Before we move further into our discussion on the best cities for Airbnb investment in 2021, we should talk about the short-term rentals regulations in these profitable locations.The amazing growth of the Airbnb rental industry since 2008 caused the US hotel lobby as well as residents in many US major cities and hot tourist destinations to force local authorities to impose strict regulations and even prohibitions on vacation home rentals. The result was a wave of Airbnb laws across the US real estate market which limit short-term rental properties to different degrees.Related: 20 Cities with No Airbnb Legal IssuesWhen it comes to the top 30 most profitable Airbnb locations in 2021, it’s important to note that some of them face regulations and restrictions on the renting of investment properties on Airbnb and other similar vacation rental platforms.Thus, as a savvy investor and a smart Airbnb host, you should check out local Airbnb laws and regulations before deciding to own an Airbnb investment property in any of these markets. You should also consider hiring a professional vacation rental management company. Property managers with experience in and knowledge of the local housing market will be able to give you the best advice on how to own a profitable short-term rental property without getting in trouble with the authorities. Moreover, working with a professional property manager will give you the opportunity to turn your rental property into a passive investment without compromising the expected rate of return.Why Do We Look at the Airbnb Cash on Cash Return?Another question which might be poking the brains of eager real estate investors is why we are determining the most profitable Airbnb locations for 2021 based on the cash on cash return and not another metric of profitability such as the Airbnb daily rate, the Airbnb income, the Airbnb occupancy rate, the Airbnb cash flow, or the Airbnb cap rate.While CoC return is just one of the many measures of return on investment in real estate, it is the most comprehensive one. The cash on cash return formula allows investors to evaluate the investment potential of an Airbnb business endeavor based on how much money they will be able to make from it taking into consideration the property price, the one-time startup costs, the recurring monthly expenses, the rental income, and – importantly – the method of financing.For example, metrics such as the Airbnb daily rate and the Airbnb occupancy rate are crucial factors in determining the profitability of an Airbnb investment, but they don’t tell the full story. Airbnb cash flow is a bit more thorough but still does not reveal the return compared to the property price. The Airbnb cap rate does that but discards the method of financing of a rental property: cash vs. mortgage. As most beginner investors have to rely on taking a loan, financing cannot be disregarded.Meanwhile, the Airbnb CoC return takes into account all these major factors to provide an all-inclusive measure of return on investment, whether we are looking at traditional or Airbnb rental properties.What Airbnb Data Is Used for These Calculations?In 2021 data is power. With the advancement of big data, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics, the world of real estate investing has been majorly transformed. Successful investors will be those who get their hands on the most reliable and trustworthy sources of real estate data.That’s why it’s important to explain where the data for the list of the 30 most profitable Airbnb locations 2021 comes from.The Airbnb data provided above has been collected and analyzed by the Mashvisor real estate investment software. We gather real estate and rental data from dozens of reliable, publicly available sources such as Airbnb.com, the MLS, and others before applying our machine-learning algorithms to provide investors with top-notch Airbnb analytics.Related: Where to Get Reliable Airbnb Data in 2021The Mashvisor Airbnb data analytics are based on the performance of actual Airbnb listings in each market. We obtain our Airbnb rental comps right from the Airbnb website, which ensures data accuracy and reliability.What Characterizes the Best Cities for Airbnb Investment in 2021?Let’s next have a look at some of the most prominent trends in the Airbnb market in the US in 2021:Surprising Airbnb Cities and StatesFirst and foremost, the most profitable Airbnb locations in 2021 are rather surprising. These are definitely not the markets which come to mind when you think about the boom of the short-term rental industry such as Airbnb Los Angeles, Airbnb New York City, Airbnb San Francisco, Airbnb Dallas, Airbnb Atlanta, and Airbnb Las Vegas.There are a few reasons for this trend. Importantly, non-owner occupied short-term rentals have been declared illegal in many of these previously top markets, which caused investors to look into other places. Furthermore, these cities usually offer prohibitively high real estate prices, which affect negatively the return on investment.The important takeaway for beginner investors is to not underestimate the importance of smaller markets when going for the Airbnb investment strategy.Wide Geographical DistributionSecond, the markets which offer the highest rate of return for vacation home rentals are distributed throughout the entire US housing market 2021. This is great news for investors who’d rather stay away from out of state real estate investing and prefer to buy a rental property close to home.Nevertheless, a few states emerge as the most profitable for Airbnb investments this year. The Virginia real estate market is a definite winner as it hosts 5 of the top Airbnb locations, followed by the Texas housing market and the California housing market, which are each home to 4 of these locations. The Ohio real estate market, the Georgia housing market, and the Mississippi real estate market are definitely worth keeping an eye on as well.Surprisingly, the Florida real estate market has dropped off from the list of the best places to invest in Airbnb in 2021. Actually, vacation rentals in the Sunshine State were disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Even by September 2020, when the Airbnb occupancy rate has entered a recovery mode in the majority of US markets, Florida was lagging behind. However, the rollout of the Coronavirus vaccine is expected to change this recent trend and bring Florida back on the map of the most profitable locations for Airbnb in 2021 and beyond.Secondary and Tertiary Real Estate MarketsAs already hinted above, the list of the 30 best markets for short-term rental property investments in 2021 is made up of mostly tertiary but also some secondary markets in real estate, rather than primary markets. One of the leading reasons for this has been the pandemic which hit US large cities stronger than smaller towns. With the new reality of remote working, many professionals are escaping from the overpriced cities to more affordable and safer locations and are looking for long-term Airbnb rentals. Suburban markets have benefited from this reality both with regards to long-term and short-term rental properties.Major Changes Since 2020Nationwide real estate market analysis comparing 2021 with 2020 will reveal significant departures from the performance of Airbnb rentals since last year. This is only expected in such a volatile situation as a global pandemic.Importantly, the list of the most profitable Airbnb locations has completely changed from 2020 to 2021. Moreover, the average return on investment has dropped. Last year the 20 best markets for investing in an Airbnb for sale boasted a double-digit cash on cash return, reaching as high as 17.5% in Tuscaloosa, AL. This year the CoC return in the top 30 places ranges from 5.0% in the Wichita real estate market to 7.6% in the San Angelo housing market. Nevertheless, investors should keep in mind that these are just city averages, while individual investment properties for sale still offer double-digit returns.Strong Airbnb Occupancy RatesAs mentioned before, the Airbnb occupancy rate is one of the main determinants of how much money you will be able to make with a vacation home rental. As expected, all the best locations for this rental strategy offer high occupancy rates: from 46% in San Marcos, TX to 78% in Visalia, CA. Of course, as an individual investor, you can work on making your property stand out from the rest of the Airbnb listings in the area or even hire a professional property manager to push your occupancy rate up. This will inevitably increase your Airbnb income and profitability as well.Affordable Home PricesLast but not least, these places provide investors with below-average property prices. This is an important consideration for first-time real estate investors and others who have a limited budget. Furthermore, low home values help Airbnb hosts push their return on investment up, regardless of whether they look at cash on cash return or cap rate. The 30 markets listed above offer house prices running from $150,400 in the Akron housing market to $581,900 in the Reno real estate market.How to Buy a Top-Performing Airbnb Rental Property in the US Housing Market 2021Knowing the most profitable Airbnb locations is the first step in owning an Airbnb property that generates profit month after month. However, it is not enough to make a profitable investment decision. Find a Profitable Airbnb Investment PropertyHere are the main steps you have to go through in order to ensure a lucrative short-term rental property investment:Real Estate Market AnalysisBuying a top-performing Airbnb property starts with analyzing the US market as a whole and identifying the most profitable locations which fit your budget and expectations. You can skip this step as you already know which cities and towns promise the highest return in 2021.Now it’s time to choose a couple of these locations which fit your requirements as an investor and conduct deeper real estate market analysis on them. Since we are looking at vacation home rentals, it’s crucial to research the Airbnb legal issues to make sure that you can own an Airbnb property there.Neighborhood AnalysisOnce you’ve completed the previous step, you should move to neighborhood analysis. Even if you know the market you want to invest in, you’ll soon figure out that different areas within the same city offer very different rates of return on short-term rentals. Moreover, they come with different property prices which affects affordability.Analyzing several neighborhoods will take lots of time and energy unless you make use of the best real estate investment tools for this kind of job. Mashvisor’s real estate heatmap will provide you with a quick visualization of the best areas to search for Airbnb rental properties for sale based on a number of criteria including:Listing pricesAirbnb rental incomeAirbnb occupancy rateAirbnb cash on cash returnMashvisor’s Real Estate HeatmapIn this way, you can quickly identify a few areas that match your investor expectations and focus your neighborhood analysis on them.Mashvisor’s neighborhood pages will provide you with readily available Airbnb data analytics for each area within a US city. Some of the Airbnb information which you will be able to get includes:Median property priceAverage price per square footAirbnb rental incomeAirbnb occupancy rateAirbnb cash on cash returnNumber of Airbnb listingsNumber of investment properties for saleOptimal rental strategy: Airbnb vs. traditionalAirbnb rental compsWalk ScoreOptimal property typeOptimal number of bedroomsMashvisor’s Neighborhood Analysis PagesAll these factors will help you confirm if this neighborhood is the best area to focus your Airbnb investment property search efforts on.Investment Property SearchAs soon as you know where you want to invest in real estate to rent out on a short-term basis, you should start your rental property search. Mashvisor’s search engine will allow you to enter your criteria to provide you with the investment properties for sale which match your expectations. Some of the factors include:BudgetExpected Airbnb incomeExpected Airbnb cash on cash returnExpected Airbnb cap rateNumber of bedrooms and bathroomsYear builtProperty sizeProperty type: single-family home, townhouse, condo, apartment, multi-family home, etc.Listing type: for sale, pending, or foreclosureFinancing method: cash vs. mortgageRental Property AnalysisNow we come to the most important step in buying a profitable Airbnb property: the investment property analysis. This is a detailed analysis of all the property features as well as all the factors that play a role in determining the return on investment.To be able to conduct rental property analysis on a number of different vacation homes to choose the best one for your particular situation, you should use Mashvisor’s Airbnb profit calculator. This investment property calculator will provide you with all the information you can possibly need to make a profitable investment decision.Related: Best Real Estate Investment Calculator for 2021For each property listed on the Mashvisor platform as well as for each property whose address you enter, you will get immediate access to the following Airbnb data (and this is not an exhaustive list):Property addressProperty typeProperty characteristicsProperty descriptionNumber of bedrooms and bathroomsListing priceTraditional and Airbnb comparable rental incomeTraditional and Airbnb cash flowTraditional and Airbnb cash on cash returnTraditional and Airbnb cap rateTraditional and Airbnb occupancy rateOne-time startup costs: home inspection, repair, furniture, appliances, and closing costsRecurring monthly expenses: property insurance, utilities, professional property management, property maintenance, property tax, HOA fees, rental income tax, and cleaning feesMortgage calculator including method of financing, down payment, mortgage type, loan term, and interest rateInvestment payback balanceReal estate compsTraditional and Airbnb rental compsRelated: How to Find Real Estate Comps in 2021Mashvisor’s Airbnb Profit CalculatorImportantly, the Mashvisor rental property calculator allows investors to change any of the metrics if they have a reason to believe that they will be able to achieve a better occupancy rate, if they want to include property management, or if they plan to do major renovations on the property, for example. As soon as you modify any of the metrics, all calculations will be automatically redone to provide you with updated estimates of return on investment.If you are planning to buy an Airbnb property in 2021, the best advice you will hear is to get access to the top real estate investment tools. This will help you not only save time and energy but also ensure that your analysis is complete and accurate.So, these are the 30 most profitable Airbnb locations in 2021 based on cash on cash return. If you want to start making money from short-term rental properties this year, focus your efforts on these markets. Sign up for Mashvisor to take your real estate research and analysis to the next level. Your lucrative Airbnb property is just a few clicks away. Start Your Investment Property Search! START FREE TRIAL AirbnbCash on Cash ReturnInvestor ToolsMarket AnalysisReal Estate DataSan Angelo TX 0FacebookTwitterGoogle +PinterestLinkedin Daniela AndreevskaDaniela is Marketing Director at Mashvisor. She has been writing about real estate investing for a number of years. Previously, she worked in economic policy research and fundraising. Daniela holds a Master degree in Middle East and Mediterranean Studies from King’s College London. Previous Post Want an Accurate Rent Estimate? Landlords Use This Calculator Next Post Mashvisor: The Best Real Estate Data Source for 2021 Related Posts The Best Cities to Flip Houses and Make a Profit in 2019 Tampa Real Estate 2018 vs. Tampa Real Estate 2017 Tucson Real Estate Market 2019: Should You Invest Here? Minneapolis Housing Market 2019: #1 in the Midwest 6 Best Cities for Buying a Townhouse to Rent Out in 2019 Las Vegas Real Estate Market 2018 – A Good Place to Invest? What’s Up With the Chicago Real Estate Market? What is the Optimal Rental Strategy for the Seattle Real Estate Market 2018 What Are the Best Neighborhoods for Investing in Rental Properties in the Austin Real Estate Market in 2018? 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