Since its humble beginnings in 2007, Airbnb has exploded in popularity. Not only can travellers find accommodation all over the world, but hosts are able to generate additional income by listing their homes on the platform.
But just how much money can Airbnb hosts really expect to earn and could the profits be enough to pay off their mortgage?
Interested in finding out, the mortgage comparison experts at Uswitch gathered data on the average price of Airbnb properties in popular European cities. After analysing the data to uncover how much of a profit Airbnb hosts could make, they calculated whether these takings would be enough to pay off a full mortgage.
Mortgage statistics reveal that the best European city for Airbnb owners to pay off their mortgage quickest is Dublin. Not only is it recognised as one of the most cultured European cities, but the lively Irish capital also boasts some of the most beautiful homes in Europe.
With the average mortgage price estimated at €325,560 for a three-bedroom property, it would only take Airbnb owners in Dublin four years, two months and 26 days (or 1,549 nights) to pay off their mortgage. That’s six times quicker than the 25-year average it takes for most people to pay off their mortgage!
The home of Alan Turning, Oasis and possibly the most famous football team in the world is also the second-best place to pay off your Airbnb mortgage.
Manchester hosts could settle their mortgages after just five years, five months and 27 days (or 2,004 occupied nights) of renting out their Airbnb property. Just a week’s booking would be enough to cover monthly mortgage repayments in the cultural city (estimated at €363,600).
It would take just five years, nine months and 17 days’ (or 2,117 nights’) worth of rent to recoup the full mortgage costs of €218,760 in the Latvian capital, making it the third-best place to own an Airbnb property.
Riga is a visitor hotspot and a great destination for foodies. The capital city is also renowned for its stunning Art Nouveau architecture and its Vecrīga (old town) and Centrs (city centre), making it an appealing choice for Airbnb guests.
With an estimated mortgage cost of €449,400 for a three-bedroom house, it would take Airbnb hosts with a property in Milan six years, four months and 14 days to pay off, making it the fourth-best place to repay Airbnb mortgages.
The fashion capital has an abundance of cultural architecture and landmarks to reel in the tourists. From the famous Il Duomo cathedral to elegant cafes that fill Piazza del Duomo, you won’t be hard-pressed to fill the 2,327 nights needed to pay off your Airbnb mortgage in Milan.
Following its northern neighbour in fifth place is Rome—the perfect destination for Airbnb rentals.
Not only can Italy’s capital enable hosts to pay off their mortgages in just six years, 11 months and 22 days (2,549 nights), but owning an Airbnb property in Rome is an easy catch for visitors. Airbnb listings in Rome are recognised as some of the most affordable stays near an iconic landmark in Europe, making it a highly attractive destination that’s guaranteed to attract guests.
Portugal’s second-largest city is the sixth-best place to recoup your mortgage price through Airbnb. Hosts in Porto would need 2,744 booked nights—or seven years, six months and six days of occupancy—to repay their estimated mortgage price of €284,040.
To start recovering costs, Airbnb hosts would only need a nine-day booking to cover one month’s mortgage repayment, which isn’t a difficult feat in a place like Porto. The coastal city has much to offer visitors, from its medieval district to its famous port wine.
Belgium is a popular place for Airbnb listings and offers some intriguing properties, such as the world’s smallest Airbnb home. The historical city of Brussels makes the top 10 as the seventh-best place to own an Airbnb property for mortgage repayments.
Airbnb owners would need to rent their property for seven years, 11 months and four days (2,896 nights) to pay back the average estimated mortgage price of €438,000. An additional appeal for visitors to stay in a self-catered Airbnb is that Brussels is one of the cheapest cities to hire a car in Europe, making it easy to get around and explore.
Not only is Antwerp one of the best cities to own an electric vehicle in, but it’s the eighth-best place to pay back your mortgage through Airbnb. Hosts would have to fill their homes for 3,023 nights—or eight years, three months and 10 days—to recoup the costs of their mortgage.
Antwerp is a brilliant place for a city break (and therefore Airbnb guests!), with plenty of sightseeing, museums and foodie options to explore. Visitors can also make use of the Antwerp bike scheme for cheap and easy travel around the city.
In ninth place is Ghent—Belgium’s historical and lesser-known city. A 10-day booking would be enough to cover a month’s Airbnb mortgage payment in the medieval city. Ghent also has plenty to offer visitors, including its historic architecture and art.
Hosts would need to rent out their property for eight years, seven months and 22 days (3,156 nights) to pay back their Airbnb mortgage, which is estimated at €453,000 in Ghent.
London topped the charts in 2020 for having the most Airbnb listings out of all European cities. Now it rounds off the top 10 European cities for Airbnb owners to pay off their mortgages, where 3,277 nights of occupancy (eight years, 11 months and 19 days) would cover the cost.
Want to further boost your income from a London let? Airbnb owners in the UK’s capital can offer popular amenities such as valet parking, to increase the listing price by an average of €43.50.
It’s important to note that in London you’ll be subject to short-term rental laws, which state, you can only rent your property for a maximum of 90 days per calendar year. For longer than this you will need to receive permission from your local council.
Other notable European cities where hosts can pay off their Airbnb mortgages include Vienna (11 years, eight months and five days) Paris (15 years, three months and 29 days) and Barcelona (15 years, 11 months and five days).
See below to find out where in Europe it would take less than 16 years to pay off your Airbnb mortgage.
If you have the means to invest in a second home as a holiday home or as an investment property, can prove to be valuable long-term investments.
Whilst listing a property you live in for part of the year on Airbnb can be a great way to earn some extra income. However, there’s many things to consider before you start.
The UK government introduced the Rent-a-Room Scheme, which allows you to earn up to £7,500 tax free from sharing space in your primary residence.
On Airbnb, you can receive a £1,000 tax-free allowance on income earned from renting out your property. You can’t claim both.
Uswitch’s mortgage expert, Florence Codjoe, highlights what you should consider before getting a second-home mortgage.
Decide between a fixed or variable rate. As with all mortgages, you should decide whether you want a fixed or variable-rate deal. Variable rates might be lower initially, but if rates increase you could end up paying more overall than if you took out a fixed rate. Fixing your mortgage also means you’ll always know how much your ongoing mortgage repayments will cost.
Wait to pay off your current mortgage. It could be worth waiting until you’ve repaid more (or even all) of your current mortgage. Waiting to pay off your current mortgage could help you get a better deal on a second home mortgage.
Budget for stamp duty. Bear in mind that you’ll also have to pay an extra 3% in stamp duty on top of the normal rates when you buy a second home, so make sure you budget accordingly.
Consider a buy-to-let mortgage. If you’re investing in a second home for the sole purpose of renting out the property then a buy-to-let mortgage is worth considering. Most buy-to-lets are interest-only mortgages, meaning your mortgage payments will be lower—giving you time to save up to pay off the “capita” amount at the end of the term.
Airbnb data for all listings for each target city was collected from InsideAirbnb. The data relevant to the piece for each listing was: rental price per night, the number of bedrooms & bathrooms and property availability. The Airbnb property inclusion criteria for each city were as follows: three bedrooms, 3.5 or fewer bathrooms, sole occupancy during the rental period (no shared rooms etc), and at least one booking within the next 60 days.
The Average Transaction Price was obtained from The 2021 Deloitte property index report to estimate the average value of a three-bed property within each city. As the values for each city are given in Euros per square metre, an average floor plan area of 120 square metres was used for a three-bed property with 3.5 or less bathrooms within each city.
The estimated average floor plan area was multiplied by the price of square metre to estimate the value of a three-bed property within each city.
The monthly mortgage repayments and total mortgage cost were calculated for the average property within each city using the PMT formula within the Numpy Financial package in Python. The mortgage variables were chosen to be: a mortgage repayment period of 25 years, an initial deposit of 10% of the property value and the mortgage credit interest rate, which was selected for each country from The Global Economy website.
The number of nights required to pay both the monthly and total mortgage cost was calculated using the average rental price per night for Airbnb listings within each city (subtracting the 3% Airbnb Host service fee). The average occupancy rate required for the rental income to cover the monthly mortgage repayment was also calculated.
The estimated occupancy rate of equivalent properties within each city was taken using historical data from each city’s hub page on InsideAirbnb. Only properties with sole occupancy that had been both recently and frequently booked were included in the estimates for occupancy rates.
The average estimated monthly income for each city’s Airbnb properties was calculated using the occupancy rate and rental cost using the estimates for Airbnb occupancy rates for each city.*
Finally, the length of time required for the monthly rental income to cover the property's estimated monthly mortgage repayment cost was found by comparing the required and estimated property occupancy rates.
*The average monthly income is pre-tax and excludes any other expenses related to the property.
About Florence Codjoe
Florence writes and edits personal finance content for Uswitch, including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts, ISAs and various types of insurance.
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