Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

: Airbnb rental revenues have plunged in some parts of the U.S., this chart suggests. But some doubt surrounds the data.

Call it the Barbie top?

Vacation rental group Airbnb announced earlier this week that a Barbie-themed hot-pink DreamHouse mansion in Malibu is temporarily back among its worldwide listings.

This time, two lucky applicants will get two free nights in the mansion, as part of a promotion from Airbnb ABNB, +0.79% and Warner Bros. WBD, -0.29% for the soon-to-be-released comedy about a real-life version of the iconic doll. The movie stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

But back in the real-life Airbnb world, times may be getting tough as new data from one analyst show rental dollars may be dropping in major cities, as the debate continues as to whether the U.S. consumer is running out of spending steam.

Nick Geril, CEO of Reventure Consulting, late Tuesday tweeted the below chart from short-term rental data and analytics group AllTheRooms that showed revenue per available listing dropping by nearly 50% in some top U.S. cities.

The data highlighted the change in that revenue (RevPAL), calculated on a three-month-average basis, between May 2022 and 2023. The biggest decline — 47.6% — was reported for listings in Sevierville, Tenn., hometown of country-music legend Dolly Parton and her Dollywood theme park as well as a shopping destination in the foothills near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A similar drop in revenue per available listing was seen in Phoenix, while the resort town Myrtle Beach, S.C., saw a 45.1% fall over the one-year span. On the lower end of the scale, the Florida destinations Panama City and Orlando saw nearly 35% drops in revenue per available listing.

Not everyone accepts Geril’s information as factual. Jamie Lane, chief economist and senior vice president of analytics at AirDNA, which tracks performance and trends in short-term rentals, offered up different numbers in a Tuesday tweet. His figures had RevPAL in Sevierville down 8.4%, far less dramatic than the 47.6% fall-off reflected in Geril’s data.

Lane did not, however, explain why the two sets of data were so different.

In a twitter thread, Geril drew a line between Airbnb and the housing market, using AllTheRooms data to show how Airbnb and other vacation-rentals-by -wner listings are at roughly 1 million, versus just 570,000 properties for sale in the U.S. housing market. This, he said, would create “huge home price downside if struggling Airbnb owners elect to sell.”

He reasoned that fewer people are now working from home and vacationing in states like Montana, Texas and Tennessee, he said.

He said owners also may not also be aware of what he called a pending “Airbnb crash,” noting that Phoenix has 18,000 short-term rentals but just 8,000 properties for sale. With revenue down around 50% for the former, it creates a “cocktail for massive forced selling,” he said.

The most trouble could be looming for “newbie” Airbnb owners who financed property purchases via mortgages in the last two years and “got in at a high price. And have a high monthly payment. And little margin for error,” he said. While they could be first to sell later this year, more seasoned owners who paid less for houses with lower-interest-rate mortgages may be able to ride out a storm.

MarketWatch has reached out to Airbnb for comment.

Data released Tuesday showed U.S. home prices rose in April amid a scarcity of listings, as buyers readjust to higher home-loan rates.

Despite signs of weakening in some Airbnb markets, the U.S. consumer doesn’t seem to be deterred from vacationing this summer as spending continues to shift from goods toward experiences.

A survey by Allianz Partners released last month predicted total vacation spending exceeding $200 billion this summer, 10% higher than in 2022 and 39% above 2021’s level and 111% more than prepandemic 2019.

Records are also expected to be broken for the number of people traveling — more than 50 million — for the Fourth of July, the AAA has said.

Airbnb shares have climbed nearly 50% this year, more than recouping losses in 2022. Last month, the company reported a record in nights booked in the first quarter, driving the first profitable start to the year on record, but the stock fell on a less-bullish-than-expected forecast by executives, who said growth in nights and experiences booked would be “unfavorable” a year-earlier travel surge powered by pent-up demand in the wake of pandemic-era lockdowns.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More