Why are more people listing on Airbnb? Rental arbitrage.

One simple reason: Rental Arbitrage

Why does it seem like every other person you talk to knows of someone who is listing or will be listing on Airbnb?  The answer is simply due to rental arbitrage.

What Is Rental Arbitrage?

When the revenue potential of something is significantly more than the cost to acquire it, you have the opportunity.  Let’s say you have a nice studio apartment in downtown LA that costs you $1350 a month.  It’s in a prime location with ideal amenities.  You then find out that one of your neighbors is listing her own studio on Airbnb and is averaging $150 a night.

You do some simple math and realize that if you could rent out your unit for about 9 days of the month, you’d pay for your rent.  What if you could rent out the unit for 27 days a month?  That means the rental income potential of the unit on Airbnb is about 3X the cost of leasing the unit month to month! It is great if you are looking for avenues to earn a more passive income.

Rental arbitrage is simply the practice of earning a profit from the price difference between markets by matching imbalanced deals. It is a popular avenue to consider as Airbnb is becoming a much more versatile earning platform.

When your achievable daily rental rate is clearly greater than your actual daily rental cost, you have rental arbitrage.

Rental Arbitrage

Why Does It Exist?

Simple.  There are always folks needing short term lodging and hotels are expensive.  These folks want something more economical, and Airbnb properties are the answer.  It allows anyone to capitalize on their available space by listing the unit at a daily rate that is substantially higher than their daily cost of the unit, but still less than what someone would pay for a comparable hotel room.  Win-Win. Unless you’re in the hotel business.

How Much Arbitrage is Good Enough?

This will largely depend on your goals, but here is one way for you to gauge.

  1. Get an average Airbnb daily rate for weekdays and weekends of SIMILAR units in your area
  2. Get the weighted average Airbnb rate:
    • Weighted Avg Airbnb Rate = (Weekday Rate * 5 + Weekend Rate * 2) / 7

    • Example: $50 weekday rate and $100 weekend rate will become ($50 * 5 + $100 * 2) / 7 = $64
  3. Take your monthly lease rate and divide it by 30 (e.g. $1500/30 = $50. This is your daily rental cost.
  4. Now divide the weighted avg Airbnb rate by your daily rental cost (e.g. $64/$50 = 1.3

So, what does this number mean? Well, if it’s a 1, it means you have to rent it out the entire month just to cover the cost of your monthly rent before any fees are taken out.

If you’re renting out your own space, then you don’t have a choice, but at least it’ll give you a sense of how worthwhile it would be.

If you’re looking at a dedicated unit, then you want to find a place where the ratio is 2.0 or more.  In urban areas, this ratio will often be 2.5 or higher.

The higher the ratio, the fewer days you need to host to cover your monthly rent and the more days available to make profits.

What are the Risks of Airbnb Arbitrage?

If you are planning to invest in rental arbitrage with Airbnb listings, there are a few risks you definitely need to be aware of before doing so.

Changing market conditions is one of the biggest risks you may face since the real estate market is a constantly changing landscape. So, the booking demand for your Airbnb vacation rental property may vary month to month. The housing market plays a significant role in rental arbitrage. You may not be able to earn the same amount of money each month.

Local regulations are another serious risk to consider if you want to become an Airbnb host for a rental property. If your Airbnb rental property is an apartment or condo, for example, you need to remain in complete compliance with the local city regulations that are in place. If there is a homeowner’s association for the property owner, the same applies.

Different HOA rules can ultimately limit your ability to rent out your property for short-term rentals. Always familiarize yourself with all the regulations before you purchase or lease any new property.

Other unexpected events may also prove to be a risk as you explore arbitrage opportunities. If there is a natural disaster, for example, you might not be operational for a long length of time. Events like this need to be considered and calculated when you determine minimum profit numbers, so you don’t end up in the red when it is said and done.

Airbnb Rental Arbitrage FAQ

Now let’s take a closer look at some of the more commonly asked questions when discussing rental arbitrage opportunities.

Is Airbnb rental arbitrage legal?

This depends on the Airbnb regulations where you live. Often it is entirely legal and acceptable, but before you begin renting out your property on Airbnb, you want to first inform the landlord or property management about the plans you have and lay out everything in detail before you proceed. Make sure you are not breaking or going against your lease agreement.

What is a BNB Formula?

This is training on how to build a short-term rental empire without needing to own property.

What is rental arbitrage, and how can you benefit with Airbnb?

Airbnb arbitrage allows anyone to benefit from properties that they own or lease that are located in high demand areas. They simply list the properties at a daily rate that is higher than the overall property expenses. It is beneficial for those who are in need of short-term accommodations in major cities and tourist destinations and hosts looking for more cash flow to supplement their income.

Can you charge higher rates than those offered in nearby hotels?

No. The Airbnb properties you are listing for guests must cost less than the occupancy rates and what someone might end up paying at a comparable room or hotel in that area.

What is the formula for a successful Airbnb arbitrage?

This will depend significantly on what your goals are. This formula is for Airbnb rental platforms. To achieve a profit on a rental, you need to calculate the weighted average Airbnb rate available for your particular area. First, obtain the average daily rates for the area on weekdays and weekends. Calculate the weighted average Airbnb rate of all the properties. You then need to calculate the cost of the property expenses each day. Now divide the weighted average Airbnb by those property costs. The final ratio you achieve should be 2.0 or higher.

FREE Training: How To Become A Top Performing Airbnb™ Host & Host With Ease


✔ How to avoid the BIG mistakes that most hosts make

✔ The secret weapon of all Top 1% Hosts

✔ The pricing strategy used by professionals

✔ How to consistently get gleaming 5-Star reviews

✔ How to free up your time without becoming a "robotic host"

This free training is brought to you by James Svetec an Airbnb Expert who has managed over $1M in bookings & Symon He, the founder of LearnBNB, the #1 Airbnb hosting education blog.



Learn about all of the secrets that professional hosts don't want you to know

Related Posts


  1. piapium
    December 8, 2014
  2. Steven
    April 14, 2017
    • Sandeep Nanda
      August 8, 2017
    • Sophia
      December 31, 2017
    • Justin Botesazan
      July 8, 2018
    • Joy
      September 11, 2018
    • David
      October 30, 2018
  3. Tina Schaeffer
    October 5, 2017
    • learnairbnb
      October 6, 2017
  4. Dieggo
    February 24, 2018
  5. Tony Smith
    January 28, 2019
  6. Le Ann D
    February 14, 2019
  7. Thierry Suhubiette
    May 27, 2019
    • Will
      January 10, 2020
    • Philip Dawkins
      July 15, 2020

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.