Airbnb Cape Town has blown up – based on the most recent report there were 6,352 active listings in Cape Town in December 2015. But how much can you really make?
Like most things in life the answer to this question is: it depends. In today’s post I am going to answer it the best I can by splitting the answer into two parts:
- how much I have made from one of my Airbnb listings
- how much people on average are making from their Airbnb listings
My Airbnb Listings
My Airbnb History
I first wrote about my experience using Airbnb back in February 2014 (Airbnb from a South African Perspective: Living Rent-Free in Cape Town). Back then Adam and I listed our spare room in Sea Point. We got all warm and fussy about welcoming strangers into our home (and high on the idea of the sharing economy). But it did not take long for us to realize that Airbnb was also a great way to generate extra income.
We bought a one-bedroom city apartment in May 2014 and took ownership in September 2014. We listed the apartment on Airbnb mid-October 2014, got our first few bookings within a week and managed to reach cashflow breakeven by March 2015.
Based on the success of the one-bedroom apartment, I bought a two-bedroom apartment in the city (along with my dad and sister). We took ownership in February 2015 and listed the apartment in April 2015.
In July 2015 Superhost was born. We took what we learnt from our own experiences and started replicating our success for other listings across the Cape Town city centre. By the end of December 2015 we have welcomed 264 bookings for 1,327 nights and made a total of R1,182,670* in the process.My Airbnb Experience: 264 Bookings, 1327 Nights and R1,182,670 Later - @airbnb @collcons #capetown Click To Tweet
* Total payouts for our two listings plus the listings we manage.
My Income and Expense Report
Today’s post will focus on my Sexy loft in the heart of the city.
December 2015 gross earnings (based on Airbnb payouts): R40,717 ZAR.
Gross Airbnb Payouts: The amounts below represent gross rental income before transaction costs and other flat related expenses as reported by Airbnb.
A note on occupancy and pricing: The first two months after listing in October 2014 I priced the apartment slightly below market value to get bookings and reviews going. In September 2015 I blocked out two weeks in order to redo the bathroom.
December 2015 total expenses (based on cashflow): R12,265 ZAR.
Flat-related expenses: On a monthly basis the biggest portion (63%) of my expenses are related to the flat itself and would be incurred whether I rented the property out on Airbnb or had a long-term tenant. These include:
- Mortgage bond (R4,207.62)
- Levies (R2,532.26)
- Rates (R992.90)
Airbnb-related expenses (fixed): These are expenses incurred on a monthly basis whether the apartment has guests or not. These include:
- Telkom Line Rental (R189.00)
- Mweb 2Meg Uncapped (R349.00)
- DSTV Premium (R699.00)
Airbnb-related expenses (variable): These are expenses incurred on a monthly basis that vary with bookings. These include:
- Prepaid Electricity (R1,000.00)
- Laundry (R838.80)
- Cleaning service (R596.00)
- Cleaning Supplies (R238.38)
- FNB Commission (1.5%) (R593.16)
- FNB Easy Account Charges (R28.95)
- Since listing (up to 31 December 2015) the Sexy Loft has made me ZAR 339,957 in total.
- Over the 15 months my average monthly income was ZAR 22,664. This is significantly more than the ZAR 6,000 per month the listing was tenanted at when I bought it in May 2014.
- Occupancy averaged out to 76% for the 15 month period.
- My average day rate was ZAR 988.25 for the 15 month period.
- The above is skewed by both a startup period and renovation period.
- There are definitely distinct peak (November to April) and off-peak (May to October) seasons in Cape Town. In the off-peak season both occupancy and day rate declines.
- Not shown in the above charts – there are also two distinct mid-season dips just before and again just after December peak season.
Airbnb Cape Town – In Numbers
I recently came across Airdna – a company that tracks and analyses over 1,500,000 Airbnb listings, generating over 1,000 free webpages and 5,000 premium reports on a monthly basis. Lucky for me Cape Town made the cut. (I am a sucker for good data and paid for the premium report – so worth it.)
Here are some interesting stats about Airbnb Cape Town from the free report:
- 76.2% of listings were for an entire place (as opposed to private/ shared rooms).
- Most listings (89.2%) have less than 9 reviews, with only 1.1% having more than 50 reviews.
- The median nightly rate is $99 for an entire apartment.
- The Sexy Loft is ranked #37 in Cape Town (based on number of reviews).
In addition to the above, the premium report also provides the following useful information:
- A historical listing count showing month-on-month growth:
It does not take a genius to know that Airbnb Cape Town is growing rapidly – from 2,973 listings in January 2015 to 8,289 listings in December 2015 (includes non-active listings).
- An analysis of occupancy rates:
It looks at the most recent month as well as a historical analysis split by percentile. Surprisingly the average December occupancy was 48%.
- Revenue analyzed by number of rooms as well as number of guests:
The Sexy Loft made $3,114 in December 2015 – which is well above the $2,030 that other 1 bedroom listings in the 83rd percentile make (those in the 50th percentile only made $845).
- Weekly and daily Revenue Per Available Room:
I think these are especially useful in determining how to price your listing based on historical trends. Airbnb can also suggest prices based on demand and seasonality – but it is worth having something to compare it to.
How much can you really make? As I said before – it depends on a number of factors including the listing itself (location, furnishings, amenities), how the listing is managed (pricing, enquiries, checkins/ checkouts) and, of course, supply and demand.
It is definitely not too late to list a property on Airbnb and enjoy above average rental income. But the massive increase in the supply of listings will mean that you will need to know a few tricks to get the listing ranking on Airbnb.
Also bear in mind that listings in the 83rd percentile earn as much a four times that of other listings. The review system can be unforgiving. Amazing listings thrive and enjoy high occupancy at high rates, while average listings die a slow death on page 20 of the search results.
Superhost South Africa specialises in full-service Airbnb property rental management, helping property owners to earn amazing Airbnb income without all the hassle. From listing creation, to day-to-day management and income optimisation, we handle everything so you don’t have to.
But before you hand over the keys to the mansion let’s grab a coffee – drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a call using the link below and we will take it from there.