Too many Airbnbs? Why some AZ property owners are selling their short-term rentals

The Phoenix area market for short-term rentals is saturated and there aren't enough people looking to rent short-term.
Published: Jun. 22, 2023 at 1:54 PM MST
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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — For Marlene Mousseux, her home away from home is in Scottsdale. “We designed [the house] entirely ourselves,” she said. “We tried to keep it as original as possible because we really love mid-century architecture.”

When Mousseux and her family aren’t in town, she rents the three-bedroom property as an Airbnb. It’s busy in the winter months but slow over the hot desert summer months. Competition from nearby short-term rentals makes it even harder to book guests. “It is very aggressive. A lot of the Airbnbs in the area are actually managed by management companies. They slash the prices,” Mousseux said. “There’s no way we can compete with some of that.”

Trevor Halpern, a Valley real estate agent, says it’s a sign the short-term rental market in the Phoenix metro area is saturated. “We’re seeing big companies that came and purchased a lot of short-term rentals that are now either selling them or converting them into long term rentals because the short-term market might be saturated and they’re not getting the rents that they need to be profitable,” Halpern told On Your Side. “We had a flood of people think that they just create an Airbnb or VRBO and all of a sudden, you’re just going to be rolling in the money, and that just isn’t the case as we’re reaching a saturation.”

A new report from Forbes shows exactly how fast Airbnb fees can add up, and Phoenix rentals are near the top of the list.

Even the week of the Super Bowl and the WM Phoenix Open in February wasn’t the blockbuster some property owners expected. “There are studies that have shown that close to 50% of all short-term rentals in the greater Phoenix marketplace were left vacant during that time,” Halpern said. “Big shock to the market. Big shock to people who came and bought thinking they were going to rent it out.”

According to a mid-year outlook from AirDNA, an analytics company focused on short-term rentals, the increase in short-term rental supply will cause another year of declining occupancy. Nationwide, AirDNA predicts short-term rentals will have an occupancy rate of 57.6%.

Mousseaux has considered converting her place into a long-term rental, but she still loves to be able to visit the Valley with her family. “For now, we’re going to keep it this way,” she said.

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