Where you can make the most money renting your stuff

Melody Hahm
Senior Writer

The sharing economy has taken the main stage, challenging traditional models of just about everything. While it’s uncontested that consumers benefit from home-sharing services like Airbnb and car rental apps like Turo, just how lucrative is it for people actually renting out their apartments and cars?

It depends on where you live, of course.

ShareaCamper, a peer-to-peer rental platform for RVs across Germany, Australia and New Zealand, created a 2017 Return on Investment Index to uncover where the sharing economy pays off the most. The study analyzed 31 cities across European, North American and Australian markets to determine which cities provide the highest returns on asset investment across five categories — homes, cars, boats, RVs and money lending.

Where in the world does it pay off?

Barcelona, Spain takes first place, with ShareaCamper ranking it the best city to pay off an investment across all five categories.

A banner reading ‘No tourist flats’ hangs from a balcony to protest against holiday rental apartments for tourists in Barceloneta, a neighborhood of Barcelona (PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images)

As one of the most visited destinations in Europe — and the world — the Spanish city experienced a 5.7% increase in tourists between 2014 and 2015. Barcelona’s government, like many others around the world, hasn’t been as accepting of the sharing economy. The mayor of Barcelona fined Airbnb and HomeAway 600,000 euros each for listing unlicensed apartments.

Meanwhile, Frankfurt, Germany is the best place to buy a home and pay it off using services like Airbnb or HomeAway. With a 13.48% yearly rate of return, it takes people seven years, on average, to recoup the initial investment in the home.

The cities with the highest ROI for a car and boat, respectively, are Zurich, Switzerland and Melbourne, Australia.

Here are the top 10 cities overall —

  1. Barcelona, Spain
  2. Wellington, New Zealand
  3. Melbourne, Australia
  4. Sydney, Australia
  5. Auckland, New Zealand
  6. Copenhagen, Denmark,
  7. Madrid, Spain
  8. Hamburg, Germany
  9. Geneva, Switzerland
  10. Dublin, Ireland

It’s notable that no US cities made the top rankings for highest ROI. The highest ranked US cities are Miami (14th), Los Angeles (18) and New York (23).

Cities were ranked by the total time needed to recoup the initial investment, based on the return of investment percentage for 1,000 assets per city.

ShareaCamper used the asset-specific occupancy rates, rental prices and original retail price in addition to any taxes and usage fees paid to the peer-to-peer platform to calculate the time that it would take to pay off the asset itself. The company plans to extend the research to all continents in the future.

ShareaCamper used data from rental platforms like Homeaway, Airbnb, Drivy, Boathound, ShareaCamper and Prosper. The company did not include Uber in calculations for car sharing because many drivers use the platform as their full-time employment.

This study solely examined the sharing economy in terms of financial investment and return. The time it takes to respond to renters and tidy the assets between users should all be factored into determining whether it’s worth the return. Time is money, after all.

Melody Hahm is a writer at Yahoo Finance, covering entrepreneurship, technology and real estate. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.

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