When it comes to Mexico vacation rentals, 2019 rental data proves one theme has become glaringly clear: it’s not all about ocean views and beachside margaritas. The United States’ southern neighbor now receives more tourists than ever, and off-the-beaten-path travel is becoming increasingly commonplace.
Hosts and property managers shouldn’t yet write off the age-old stomping grounds of Baja California and Quintana Roo — but the truth is most growth is happening in some curious, not-so-obvious spots. Based on industry-leading vacation rental data and insights from AirDNA’s MarketMinder tool, here’s our recap and outlook for the Mexico vacation rental market (as well as some intriguing emerging markets to keep an eye on).
Overview of the Mexican Vacation Rental Market
It’s tough to overstate the rate at which vacation rentals have skyrocketed in Mexico over the last half-decade. For the country as a whole, entire-home listings have ballooned 403% since the fall of 2015.
The same story holds true for RevPAR, or Revenue Earned per Available Rental. Over the same time period, the average vacation rental host in Mexico saw their yearly earnings increase by 169%.
Compared to other prominent markets in Latin America, the Mexican vacation rental market consistently outperforms those in nearly every other country. Besides those in Costa Rica, hosts in Mexico earn more revenue per night than in any other market. In terms of occupancy rates, Mexico ranks third just behind Peru and Argentina.
Mexico’s Biggest Vacation Rental Markets
While the bird’s eye view of the Mexico vacation rental market is resoundingly positive, it’s the micro-level nuances that prove to be most interesting.
Before jumping into Mexico’s emerging markets and trends, let’s not lose sight of its most dominant regions. The lion’s share of Mexico’s revenue is currently earned in four main states: Baja California, Nayarit/Jalisco, Mexico, and Quintana Roo.
The neighboring states of Nayarit and Jalisco lead the pack with vacation rental standouts including Sayulita, Bahia de Banderas, and Puerto Vallarta. Quintana Roo’s hotspots of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Cozumel follow closely behind with a combined yearly revenue nearing $400 million. Baja California’s getaway spots of Cabo San Lucas, Los Barriles, and Todos Santos currently rank third. And finally, the State of Mexico — driven largely by the demand in Mexico City — ranks fourth.
Potential Stagnation in Mexico’s 4 Main Regions?
While the states above are currently reeling in the most revenue, their outlook for the future is a bit shaky. Many of these cities (that are located on the coast) are witnessing four main trends:
- Decreasing year-on-year average daily rates
- Decreasing year-on-year occupancy rates
- Increasing demand (based on the sheer number of listing nights booked)
- Increasing supply
These four variables tell us one thing: even though demand is trending upward, decreasing ADRs and occupancy rates point towards saturated, oversupplied markets. Many hosts are eager to capitalize on the opportunities in the Mexican vacation rental market, but the truth is that many of these coastal standouts may have found their ceilings.
Emerging Markets in the Mexico Vacation Rental Landscape
When digging for up-and-coming Mexico vacation rental markets using AirDNA’s MarketMinder tool, one theme has become increasingly clear: most new revenue growth is found in some unexpected locations.
In order to demonstrate this point, we segmented definitions of “growth” into three categories: demand growth, supply growth, and RevPAR growth. We also analyzed a fourth variable, MarketMinder’s seasonality metric, to see if there were any major seasonal trends.
1. Mexico Vacation Rental Demand
Here are the cities experiencing the most percentage growth in reservations over the past year. Of the top 30 cities, 21 are located inland — many of which are found in mountainous, high-altitude regions. In fact, the top six inland destinations average an altitude of 4,267 feet above sea level.
City Coastal or Inland? Year-on-Year % Increase
Orizaba I 501%
Silao de la Victoria I 343%
Tlaltizapan de Zapata I 330%
Comitan de Dominguez I 316%
Durango Ciudad C 306%
Ciudad Madero C 289%
Cuetzalan del Progreso I 274%
Culiacan C 263%
Tampico C 262%
Ahome C 252%
2. Mexico Vacation Rental Supply
Another way to analyze growth is by studying the number of new listings being added to the market. While it doesn’t always correlate directly with increased revenues, it’s often the first reaction of enterprising hosts and property managers to increased tourism. The inland vs. coastal trend for markets experiencing the most supply growth is even more pronounced: 26 of the top 30 (87%) of the top markets are located in inland, high-altitude regions.
City Inland or Coastal % Listing Growth
Durango Ciudad I 199%
Zacatecas I 125%
Torreon I 123%
Bacalar C 118%
Zacatlan I 116%
Tlaltizapan de Zapata I 111%
Valladolid I 107%
Chetumal C 101%
Ciudad Madero C 100%
Patzcuaro I 95%
3. Mexico Vacation Rental RevPAR
Here’s the layout for cities experiencing the most year-on-year growth in revenue earned per available rental. As a factor of both occupancy rates and average daily rates, this metric shows where most of the true revenue growth is happening. In terms of RevPAR, the same theme rings true: 70% of the top cities analyzed are located in inland regions.
City Inland or Coastal RevPAR Growth
Santa Cruz Xoxocotlan I 218%
Orizaba I 201%
San Sebastian Tutla I 171%
Nezahualcoyotl I 168%
Culiacan C 149%
Tlalnepantla de Baz I 136%
Tlaltizapan de Zapata I 110%
Carmen I 109%
Ahome C 105%
Atizapan de Zaragoza I 103%
4. Mexico Vacation Rental Seasonality
Mexico has long been a haven for travelers looking to escape northern winters. This fact is best demonstrated by analyzing MarketMinder’s seasonality metric — which is the percentage difference between the minimum and the maximum monthly RevPAR over the past year. A high seasonality score indicates the market has year-round demand and very little seasonality.
Nearly all cities on this list are located away from Mexico’s coastlines. Many snowbirds may indeed be heading to Cancún and Playa del Carmen, but it’s clear that the most consistent, year-round vacation rental demand is found in Mexico’s inland regions.
Mexico Vacation Rentals Demonstrate Changing Traveler Tastes
Taken as a whole, the data above paints a very clear picture of the evolving Mexico vacation rental market. The well-established stereotype of Mexico as a beachside, resort-based vacation rental market may very well be on its way out.
Travelers are becoming increasingly interested in destinations that don’t fit the bill of a traditional vacation rental destination. Rather than looking to the tried-and-true markets along the Pacific coast and the Gulf of Mexico, hosts and property managers should consider looking inland where the vast majority of new growth is being found. Here are six spots we highly recommend considering.
Emerging Mexico Vacation Rental Markets to Keep an Eye On
San Cristobal de Casas
Chiapas’ go-to home base for exploring southern Mexico is becoming a haven for adventurous travelers and culture buffs alike. Market Grade: A+ (95/100). 1,337 active rentals.
Desert oasis in Northern Mexico just a stone’s throw from Monterrey. Centuries-old museums, bohemian cafes, and cultural centers are beginning to beckon tourists. Market Grade A- (84/100). 311 active rentals.
With over 1.5 million people, Mexico’s second city is still very much considered an emerging market. Market Grade: A (93/100). 3,412 active listings.
Lakeside town with a beautiful boardwalk just south of the chaos of Guadalajara. Market Grade: A (94/100). 544 active rentals.
Bustling markets, colonial architecture, Aztec ruins, and lush botanical gardens are all on display in Oaxaca. It’s also currently top 10 in the country for places with most long-term stays (28+ days). . Market Grade: A+ (97/100). 2,449 active listings.
Just inland from the Gulf of Mexico in the Yucatan, Merida is emerging as an excellent alternative to the overrun destinations in Quintana Roo. Market Grade: A+ (97/100). 3,511 active listings.