Bringing Super Bowl LI to Houston means big business for the city, but it’s not just the restaurants and hotels that are profiting from the large numbers of tourists. It’s local homeowners, too.
Through companies like Airbnb and HomeAway, a vacation rental site where people can either rent out their home or find a more comfortable (and most likely cheaper) alternative to hotels for vacation, Houstonians are raking in a lot of cash.
“The average rate for homes still available for the weekend are going for $2,500 per night, compared to the city’s typical $225 per night rate,” says Adam Annen, a travel expert for HomeAway. “There are even homes going for $10,000 to $15,000 per night.”
As of Feb. 1, the lowest rental found on HomeAway for lodging during Friday, Feb. 3 through Sunday, Feb. 5 is $55 each night for a two-bedroom home, while the most expensive is $10,000 for a five-bedroom mansion.
One of the biggest factors for renters, however, is not only the hefty check they can earn, but also the fact that the income received for renting under 14 days doesn’t have to be reported on tax returns, according to Annen.
With the opportunity to earn big in rental revenue, it’s not shocking that usage of HomeAway has spiked as we come closer to Game Day. The site has experienced more than a 500 percent increase in listings since this time last year, with many individuals renting out their homes for the first time. Houston’s Super Bowl has also brought one of the largest growths in demand for the company since its inception, even when comparing against last year’s game when the Carolina Panthers faced the Denver Broncos.
“Compared to this same time in Houston last year, demand has spiked nearly 2,500 percent,” Annen says. “To put that in perspective from previous years, last year’s game in Santa Clara, California saw a spike of about 1,600 percent—the largest we had seen at the time.”
Even long after the Super Bowl, renters can gross up to $28,000 on the site if they rent their home for four-and-a-half-months each year, Annen adds, meaning most mortgage payments are covered. Do it big, Houston.