Special Report

Worst Cities to Own a Vacation Rental

Almost eight million American households own a second home, either as a vacation getaway or an investment opportunity. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a devastating tragedy for the nation, but it has been good to those who own rental properties in appealing places.

That’s because for people wishing to flee their urban homes temporarily — whether to minimize the chance of infection by avoiding crowded places or just for a literal change of scenery — private residences are seen as safer than hotels and better suited for working remotely. (However, before heading off for a getaway, it’s important to be aware of the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions in each state.)

Some towns and cities around America are less desirable than others for those considering buying a second place, whether for their own use or to rent out or both.

Click here to see the worst places to own a vacation home.

Based on 14 metrics — including rental vacancy rate, median annual property taxes, number of local attractions, and rates of violent crime, property crime, and natural hazards — the lawn care company LawnStarter recently compiled a list of 2021’s best cities to own a vacation home.

Those that ended up at the bottom of the list are, by extension, the worst, at least among the possibilities considered. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t perfectly nice places or that nobody should consider buying there — just that their overall scores suggest a reduced possibility that owners will be able to profit from renting them out.

To supplement these rankings, we added the median home value for each city on this list in 2019 and noted how that figure compared to the value of a typical home nationwide.