GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – You may have rented a home or part of one for a vacation stay through an agency such as Airbnb or VRBO. It’s becoming increasingly popular, especially for families, with millions of rentals worldwide every day.

What you may not know is that the hottest of the largest markets in the U.S. to invest in Airbnb might be right here in Greensboro.

Greensboro is the top-rated market for Airbnb investments, one evaluation says.

Incfile, a company that helps start-up businesses get organized and launched, measured the 100 largest cities through the lens of various data and trends and landed on GSO – the Gate City – as your best bet to invest.

More on the criteria later, but know this: Greensboro leaped to the top because its housing prices are relatively low ($247,739 is the median) in a continued strong market, and its monthly Airbnb revenue of $3,771 – yes that first number in front of the comma is a “3” – is third best among those 100 cities, which included all the majors in North Carolina.

Greensboro also has a typical occupancy rate of just less than 50%, Incfile discovered, and its average nightly rate was about $193 (although that fluctuates seasonally).

The rest of the top seven cities, as Incfile ranked them: Nashville (much higher prices), New Orleans, Birmingham, Buffalo, Memphis and Pittsburgh.

All ranked below Greensboro in almost every data category.

For instance, Nashville would generate an average monthly income of $3,911, with a 56% occupancy rate. But its median home price was by far the highest ($455,157).

And, no, not everyone in the city might be happy to hear this. Some hosts have lost their enthusiasm. Still, it’s remarkable.

About the process

So how did Incfile go about this evaluation of Greensboro? It gathered, weighted and crunched data. And be sure to know that this analysis is focused on Airbnb, not VRBO or any other vacation rental agency.

Data included average Airbnb price by state, occupancy rates, cost of living, median home price, average monthly revenue. These figures were weighted to create a ranking. For instance, monthly revenue was rated at .26 and median home price at .12.

Aggregators and listings agents such as All The Rooms and Zillow provided historical data that feeds much of this report.

For instance, found that the average daily rate in Greensboro – not Winston-Salem – in the 30 days after  Christmas was $131, which was down from a much higher average closer to Thanksgiving. Some of that data analysis was hidden behind a subscription requirement.

But there were variables for entire homes, private rooms, shared rooms/suites and hotels, both traditional and extended-stay. All of North Carolina’s larger markets are measured individually.

Hotels or rentals? 7 things to know

  1. According to research by Family Destinations Guide, most vacationers would prefer traditional hotel rooms, with more than half of adults surveyed saying they would choose hotel rooms. A house/villa was second, and a self-contained apartment was farther down the list, after a campsite and a recreational vehicle.
  2. In some cities, hotel rooms might be cheaper than Airbnb. Nashville and New Orleans show up on that list, too. So do Austin, Texas, San Diego and San Francisco.
  3. Searches of Google can tell us that there are more than 150,000 hotel rooms in Las Vegas and nearly that many in Orlando and New York City (the top three in the nation). We also learn there are about 27,000 in Charlotte and at least 17,000 in Wake County. But we can’t find exactly how many hotel rooms might be available in Greensboro or even Wilmington (the coast) or Asheville (the mountains).
  4. Likewise, there are numerous properties listed for Airbnb or analyses of their financial impact, but counting and measuring can be moving targets. Data for 2021 suggested that in North Carolina new Airbnb hosts earned about $75 million. That was sixth most of any state, behind California, Florida, Texas, New York and Georgia. This is on a total pool that the company says grew by 34% from 2019.
  5. Some cities have strict limitations on Airbnb rentals based on speculation by owners. In New York, for instance, an owner can only market one Airbnb property at a time. Santa Monica, California, the coastal side of Los Angeles and south of Malibu, business licenses and occupancy taxes have been required. Paris, Barcelona and Berlin cracked down, too.
  6. In North Carolina, you don’t have to register as a business or acquire a license but there is the Vacation Rental Act for both landlords and tenants. State law prohibits local governments from setting such regulations for a city or county. But owners are responsible for collecting and paying state sales tax, which ranges from 6.75% to 7.5%.
  7. The most recent data suggest that more than 1 billion people have stayed in an Airbnb and the company suggests that 2 million a night stay in one of its facilities. You have other questions, there are many, many answers and data points.