Hampton Roads homeowners earned nearly $19 million from Airbnb

Letting strangers into their homes is earning extra cash for more property owners in this region of Virginia.

Hampton Roads residents who put rooms — or their entire homes — up for rent for a few nights in 2018 made nearly $19 million, collectively. The numbers reflect only rentals through Airbnb, the largest of the home-sharing platforms that connect hosts with potential renters who want to stay in houses, apartments or rooms instead of hotels.

Virginia Beach topped the area list for the most guest bookings and revenue, at 55,900 bookings for $9.3 million. That’s roughly $167 per booking, though rates vary depending on factors such as length of stay, location and space size.

Norfolk and Williamsburg were the only other cities to top $1 million in revenue from Airbnb guests. There were 30,900 bookings for $4.5 million in Norfolk and 23,700 bookings for $2.6 million in Williamsburg.

( I think the Williamsburg number is very misleading as almost all of the timeshare operators post their listings on Airbnb.)

Hampton followed with 6,900 bookings for $932,000, then Chesapeake with 5,300 bookings for $653,600.

Portsmouth and Newport News weren’t as popular. Portsmouth brought in 3,200 bookings for $449,200, while 3,700 bookings were made in Newport News for $436,300. Suffolk trailed among area cities with 650 bookings for $105,300.

Compared to other cities in the state, Hampton Roads locales fared well. Charlottesville was neck-and-neck with Virginia Beach, while Richmond and Alexandria had fewer bookings and revenue: 67,800 for $7.8 million and 37,200 for $6.8 million, respectively.

Around 10,200 Virginia Airbnb hosts received nearly $104 million and recorded almost 750,000 bookings in 2018. Virginia hosts typically earn around $5,500 annually, according to Airbnb.

And for the record localities in the Williamsburg area do not make it easy to rent a home through Airbnb.

Homeowner association rules prevent it in almost every neighborhood with an HOA in James City County. You can apply for a special use permit in Jcc and typically they will approve it if it’s not in a neighborhood.

The city of Williamsburg has very restrictive zoning rules. They are only allowed on certain streets and at this point the homes have to be owner occupied.