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Is an Airbnb Crisis Looming in Fresno as Demand Plummets?
gvw_edward_smith
By Edward Smith
Published 10 months ago on
June 29, 2023

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Declines in Airbnb revenue show Fresno County hosts are among the country’s hardest hit.

And, if hosts decide to sell their investments, that could mean a large number of units hitting the market. One expert thinks the flood could mirror Great Recession-level price drops in some cities.

However, Realtors think, in Fresno at least, the market will be able to absorb it the new listings.

Short-term Rental Revenue Dropped 41% Year-Over-Year

Data aggregated from the real-estate analysis website Reventure Consulting show Fresno County is ranked No. 17 in the nation for counties with the biggest revenue declines for short-term rentals such as Airbnb and VRBO.

Reventure sourced data from short-term rental tracking website AlltheRooms.com.

Year-over-year, hosts have on average lost 40.7% of income, dropping from $2,282 a month in May 2022 to $1,356 in May 2023.

Bakersfield followed closely behind with a 39.2% decline in revenue, dropping to $1,464 in May 2023 from $2,386.

In the 182 U.S. counties with the most short-term rental listings, 179 had revenue declines, averaging 29% in the three months from March to May compared to the same time period in 2022, the report stated.

Fresno County is ranked No. 17 for revenue declines for short-term rentals (Reventure.app)

Airbnb CEO Warned of Booking Slowdown

Airbnb stock saw the most bookings for a quarter ever in Q1, 2023.

At the same time, Airbnb executives told investors to expect drops in bookings in Q2, 2023.

“Nights and experiences booked will have unfavorable year-over-year comparisons in Q2 2023 as we overlap pent-up 2022 demand following the COVID Omicron variant,” the investor report stated.

Others have cited exorbitant cleaning fees as reasons for turning away from Airbnb.

Airbnb Disputes Massive Drops in Revenue

Citing higher bookings in Q1 2023 compared to the previous year, Airbnb representatives say the data from AlltheRooms.com is not correct.

“The data is not consistent with our own data. As we said during our Q1 earnings, more guests are traveling on Airbnb than ever before, with Nights and Experiences Booked growing 19% in Q1 2023 compared to a year ago,” an Airbnb spokesperson said.

AirDNA, another third-party short-term rental tracking website compiled its own data, saying average revenue per active listing is down 3.6% rather than AlltheHomes’ 40.3%.

Airbnb would not provide per-listing revenue data.

Investors Have Looked to Short-Term Rentals for Income

Since 2017, as the number of home listings has trended downward nationwide, rentals on Airbnb and VRBO have increased.

The nearly 1 million rentals available on Airbnb, VRBO, and other listing sites outnumber available homes listed for sale by 65%.

Some housing advocates have bemoaned the rise in short-term rentals as a major contributing factor to housing shortages.

Some cities have even taken measures to limit short-term rentals.

  • The Dallas City Council voted on June 20 to ban short-term rentals in areas zoned single-family. Roughly 1,000 homes would become illegal after enforcement begins in December.
  • Both New York City and Honolulu do not allow a property to be rented for fewer than 30 days at a time.
  • San Francisco requires owners to become certified. They can only rent out their primary residence.
  • Las Vegas requires owners to get a permit for short-term rentals in addition to other limitations.

If hosts begin selling en masse in light of declining revenues, the author of the study predicts there may be a housing bust on par with the 2008 subprime crisis.

Twice as Many Short-Term Rentals as Homes for Sale in Fresno/Clovis

In Fresno and Clovis, 811 homes are available as short-terms rentals, according to airdna.co. That is a 27% increase in available rentals from the first quarter of 2020. There are 423 private rooms in the area.

There are only 447 homes currently listed in Fresno and Clovis, according to Rip Hovde, Realtor with Real Broker.

Nearly 61% of rentals in Fresno and Clovis are booked fewer than 90 days out of the year, according to airdna.co. Only 2% are booked for more than 271 days.

Data show the number of available short-term rentals versus the number of homes listed for sale. (Reventure.app)

Landlords Getting out of Long-Term Rental Market

Hovde said the long-term rental investors he works with are selling and getting out of California because of taxes and politics. Selling long-term homes can be complicated in California. A landlord selling a home with a tenant still in the home has to cover last month’s rent and a one-month moving allowance, which is whatever the tenant pays in rent.

Landlords putting their rentals on the market would benefit first-time homebuyers, Hovde said.

Another investor may want new carpet or a new kitchen whereas a first-time homebuyer will buy whatever they can.

“If the investor sells and another investor buys, the numbers have to make sense,” Hovde said. “So the investor selling will not be able to get the maximum dollar. He will be able to make maximum profit if he sells it to a first-time homebuyer where another investor is going to lowball them or what have you.”

Realtors: Fresno Can Absorb Influx of Airbnbs

Even if a large number of those short-term rentals came on the market, Hovde thinks it will be a benefit to the Fresno housing market. At the rate people are buying homes, people will buy them up pretty quickly.

“I think we’ll just chew through them,” Hovde said. “I think you could drop 400 houses on the market, personally and we would be able to buy them up.”

Housing inventory is up 8.7% from last month but sales are also up 9.1%. Hovde said of 41 new listings in Fresno, 32 were sold.

“We’re selling almost everything we’re putting on the market,” Hovde said.

Fresno Could Use Injection of Inventory

Broker Associate Don Scordino of Realty Concepts agrees. Higher interest rates were supposed to drop prices. But even though demand has dropped, lack of inventory has kept home prices up.

Scordino also doesn’t think there would be a sudden rush of inventory should Airbnb hosts decide to sell off. Some could afford to drop daily rates. Others would consider losses by capital gains through sell-offs.

“The law of supply and demand would allow for that influx of new supply to offset the high demand that we currently have,” Scordino said.

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Edward Smith,
Multimedia Journalist
Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.

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