2018 Vacation Rental Performance Report: Lake Tahoe, Mammoth & Big Bear

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California Ski Area Vacation Rental Performance Report

Year-round outdoor activities and amazing scenery make Big Bear, Mammoth, and Lake Tahoe some of the best places to vacation in California. They have snow, but also plenty of sunshine. They’re not a long drive from coastal cities, but they make you feel like you’re far from everyday life.

Having a vacation home in one of these areas means owning a slice of California’s most spectacular natural escapes.
People are capitalizing on the huge tourism draw to these areas to make the dream of owning a California ski area vacation rental a reality. By turning their second homes into short-term vacation rentals, they can generate rental income when they aren’t using the property themselves.

We wanted to give existing owners and prospective buyers a better understanding of their earning potential, so we analyzed thousands of vacation rental listings and compiled our Vacation Rental Performance Reports for Lake Tahoe, Big Bear, and Mammoth. The report will give you insight into the area’s average rental income, occupancy rates, and booking windows.

Some of the key factors we’ve identified that are contributing to the region’s immense success are:

  • Huge seasonal demand
  • Dual high seasons
  • Large inventory of vacation homes

Why Mammoth, Big Bear, and Lake Tahoe Vacation Rentals Are So Successful

Lake Tahoe is a world-famous vacation destination that spans two states and has 13 ski resorts in the high Sierra Nevadas. Mammoth is an adrenaline junkie’s ideal getaway with year-round outdoor adventures. And Big Bear is just a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, making it an accessible escape for Southern Californians.

But what they all have in common is that it’s easy to offset the expenses of California ski area vacation rentals because they’re dual-season destinations.

During the winter, ski tourism brings millions of travelers to the area and during the summer, outdoor enthusiasts flock to the mountains for weekend trips to camp, fish, hike, and climb.

These two distinct peak periods – the summer high season between June and August, and the winter season from December through February – are two opportunities for owners to earn top dollar for hosting guests.

Proximity is another factor in what makes these areas so successful for vacation rental.

  • Lake Tahoe is just 3.5 hours from San Francisco
  • Mammoth is 4.5 hours from Fresno
  • Big Bear Lake is just 2 hours from Los Angeles

It’s easy for locals to plan weekend trips out to the mountains for last-minute getaways. While many groups book week-long vacations to their favorite ski destinations year after year.

As a result, there’s demand for properties of all sizes and types (condos, single-family residences, cabins). Here’s a breakdown of the rental income you can earn with a vacation home in Lake Tahoe, Mammoth, and Big Bear:

How Much Can You Make With a Vacation Rental in Lake Tahoe?

Three-bedroom properties are the most common in the Lake Tahoe area, representing 36% of the inventory. A three-bedroom property at the median earns about $30,352, and a top performer in the 75th percentile can generate as much as $41,119.

Four-bedroom properties are the second-most common, making up 22% of the inventory, and they bring in $41,759 at the 50th percentile and $59,059 at the 75th percentile.

While inventory, real estate prices, and regulations vary from South Lake to North Lake, there are certain amenities in high demand across both areas:

  • Proximity to the ski lifts and lake
  • Location on public transportation lines
  • Resort amenities, like spas and pools

Average vacation rental income for 3-bedroom properties in California ski areas

How Much Can You Make With a Vacation Rental in Big Bear?

Two-bedroom properties make up 33% of the vacation rental inventory in Big Bear. At the 50th percentile, two-bedroom homes generate $15,827 in yearly revenue, and at the 75th percentile, they generate $22,641.

Three-bedroom homes represent the majority of the inventory in Big Bear, making up 35% of all vacation rentals. They generate $22,941 in yearly revenue at the 50th percentile, and $32,824 at the 75th.

Vacation rentals that stand out of the crowd in Big Bear and perform at the 75th percentile have a high-end luxury appeal and provide amenities, such as:

  • Hot tubs
  • Game rooms
  • Firepits

How Much Can You Make With a Vacation Rental in Mammoth?

Mammoth has a greater percentage of one-bedroom vacation homes than the other ski areas. Representing 29% of the vacation rental inventory, one-bedroom properties bring in $24,414 at the 50th percentile and $32,985 at the 75th percentile.

Two-bedroom properties are the most common size for vacation rentals in Mammoth, making up 40% of the inventory. A median two-bedroom brings in $26,741, while a top performer in the 75th percentile can generate $37,040.

Because many Mammoth properties are in resorts and condos that are close to the lifts, there’s not an obvious path to gaining a competitive edge. To enter the 75th percentile for performance, owners should:

Download the full reports to see more data about California Ski Areas

Thinking about buying a second home in Lake Tahoe, Mammoth, or Big Bear? Have a vacation home that you’re thinking about using as a vacation rental?

Download our free 2018 Vacation Rental Performance Reports for California Ski Areas to see:

  • Rental income potential by property size
  • Average occupancy by property size
  • Average daily rate by property size
  • Average length of stay
  • Vacation rental inventory by property size
  • Occupancy rate by month


Evolve Vacation Rental Network is the fastest-growing vacation rental management company in North America, helping over 7,500 owners earn more than $300 million in rental income. We’ll help you maximize the income potential of your property, too. Click here to learn how.

California Ski Country Market Performance Report

The California Ski Country
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