The places in Wales making the most money from Airbnb holiday rentals

Welcome to Wales sign near Chirk
Welcome to Wales sign near Chirk -Credit:Hadyn Iball/North Wales Live

Wrexham is not known as an Airbnb hotspot but council officials believe the “Rob and Ryan effect” is changing this perception. Everyone, it seems, wants to cash in on Wrexham AFC’s international profile and its Hollywood stardust.

In the last year or so the local authority has seen a decline in long-term rented properties as landlords switch to more lucrative short-term holiday lets. Some have Wrexham AFC themes specifically to attract football tourists, MPs on Westminister’s Welsh Affairs Committee heard this week. Some are adorned with pictures of Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool character.

Giving evidence to the committee’s Prisons in Wales inquiry, council officials partly blamed this shift for a shortage of suitable digs for prison leavers in Wrexham. “We’ve seen a huge decrease in the amount of private sector accommodation that we can utilise,” they told MPs.

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Yet the wider county has a long way to go to mirror the impact – and profitability – of Airbnbs elsewhere in Wales, particularly on the west coast. A recent study found that Gwynedd was the country’s most lucrative place for holiday rentals.

On the UK list, it ranks 13th for profitability as the night rates tend to be lower than the big cities. In terms of nights booked last summer (423,280), the county sits in sixth spot overall.

To assess the revenue potential of holiday rentals around Britain, money website Wealth of Geeks looked at nightly Airbnb rates across 388 counties and boroughs. These were compared with booking volumes from various platforms between July 1 and September 30, 2023 – not just Airbnb but also and the Expedia Group.

Gwynedd was calculated to have generated £10.2m over the three months – around £1.2m more than Pembrokeshire, second in the Welsh list. Next came Cardiff with a three-monthly income of £4.76m, a smidgeon above that of Conwy (£4.75m). The North Wales Live Whatsapp community for top stories and breaking news is live now - here’s how to sign up

While rental prices tend to be cheaper in the capital, with fewer overnight guests, it just tops Conwy by virtue of having more stays. In other words, more people visit Conwy for week-long stays, and more people visit Cardiff for nights and weekend breaks, which generate bigger margins.

Some 43% of houses in Aberdyfi are second homes or holiday lets
Some 43% of houses in Aberdyfi are second homes or holiday lets -Credit:Robert Parry Jones/North Wales Live

Next best in Wales, in terms of revenue, was Powys, followed by Anglesey, Ceredigion and Denbighshire. Nightly room and house charges were similar for all, the exception being apartment hires on Anglesey: at £141 these were comfortably more expensive than elsewhere.

Wealth of Geeks said that, overall, the UK holiday rental sector made around £739.2m last summer. A spokesperson added: “Holiday rentals help to promote awareness of lesser-known areas, helping to distribute tourist spending more evenly across the country.

“While some destinations experience seasonal fluctuations in tourism, holiday rentals attract visit year-round, helping to sustain economies and businesses during off-peak seasons.”

They've also been blamed for driving up property prices, hollowing out communities and displacing local people and culture. Putting a recent dent in the sector was Chancellor Jeremy Hunt who, in the March Budget, announced two tax breaks affecting holiday let investors will be abolished next year.

The big player in the UK holiday rental sector is Cornwall. Over three months last summer, the county generated £40.1m from a vast 476,910 night bookings. Thanks to higher rental costs – and large booking numbers – next came the London boroughs of Westminster (£34.4m), Camden (£21.2m) and Hackney (£20.4m).

Further down the Welsh list was Flintshire, with a three-month rental income of £524,000. Languishing lower still was Wrexham, generating less than a twentieth of Gwynedd’s holiday rental income.

In Wales, only Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen were less profitable. Apparently the “Rob and Ryan effect” only goes so far. Sign up for the North Wales Live newsletter sent twice daily to your inbox

Holiday rental profitability across Wales

  1. Gwynedd: Av room rental - £83; Av house rental - £117; Guest nights - 423,280; Total revenue - £10,180,780

  2. Pembrokeshire: Av room rental - £85; Av house rental - £94 ; Guest nights - 344,500; Total revenue - £8,613,050

  3. Cardiff: Av room rental - £74; Av house rental - £72; Guest nights - 182,820; Total revenue - £4,769,300

  4. Conwy: Av room rental - £81; Av house rental - £108; Guest nights - 199,420; Total revenue - £4,752,270

  5. Powys: Av room rental - £82; Av house rental - £98; Guest nights - 199,420; Total revenue - £4,127,880

  6. Isle of Anglesey: Av room rental - £82; Av house rental - £141; Guest nights - 150,130; Total revenue - £3,488,280

  7. Ceredigion: Av room rental - £78; Av house rental - £109; Guest nights - 136,770; Total revenue - £3,286,920

  8. Denbighshire: Av room rental - £79; Av house rental - £107; Guest nights - 70,150; Total revenue - £1,678,750

  9. Flintshire: Av room rental - £80; Av house rental - £102; Guest nights - 21,280; Total revenue - £524,000

  10. Wrexham: Av room rental - £79; Av house rental - £96; Guest nights - 19,640; Total revenue - £488,220

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