Grand Rapids ranks in top 40 cities for owning vacation rental

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Grand Rapids is a prime location for vacation rentals, according to a recent study.

A report by LawnStarter ranked Grand Rapids No. 38 out of 318 cities where people own vacation rentals. LawnStarter ranked the cities across 10 key factors from the median listing price per square foot to the rental vacancy rate to the prevalence of property crime.

The key factors are ranked with 1 being “best.” Grand Rapids ranked 104 for median listing price per square foot, 85 for rental vacancy rate, 51 for annual rental yield, 125 for number of attractions and 173 for violent crime rate. Altogether, Grand Rapids earned a composite score of 62.45.

Shelbyville, Kentucky, came in at No. 1 on the list with a composite score of 68.88. Comparatively, the worst place to own a vacation rental was Bass Lake, California, with a composite score of 27.55.

The study said smaller cities and towns dominated the ranking because vacation homes are cheaper to buy outside cities and have a greater return on investment because they’re strategically placed near good attractions.

Most of America’s largest cities performed poorly overall as vacation home hot spots despite consistently ranking high in the attractions category.

San Francisco, for example, is No. 2 for attractions but 309 on annual rental income and 275 on daily rental income. Washington, D.C., is similar, coming in at No. 5 on attractions but 284 on annual rental income and 263 on daily rental income.

Many of the best vacation rental home cities are near attractions in greater Appalachia. Shelbyville and Bardstown, Kentucky — No. 1 and No. 5, respectively — are just outside of Louisville and surrounded by the bourbon industry, a large tourist draw.


LawnStarter ranked the 318 U.S. cities from best to worst based on data from AllTheRooms, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, TripAdvisor, U.S. Census Bureau and Zillow.

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