The Top 7 Airbnb Towns in BC

Our team has developed an Airbnb comparison report that showcases property type, annual revenue, and the approximate real estate prices. Many aspects should affect your buying decisions and no single report or article will be able to answer all of the questions for you. If you have an interest in any specific Airbnb towns in BC, research the zoning bylaws and requirements so that you’re confident that you can legally operate a vacation rental.

We have complied this report in no particular order. The financial numbers of an Airbnb property are just one piece of the pie and should not be rated in priority simply because the numbers are higher. While we all want high earning properties, it is important that the property match your lifestyle requirements and be a natural extension to your real estate portfolio.

Tofino, BC

For many, many years, Tofino has been a gold jewel in Vancouver Island’s tourism industry. The community is a natural fit for Airbnb with its surfer community, ecotourism focused activities, and stunning westcoast architecture. Vancouver Island is usually a cheaper alternative to the mainland (Metro Vancouver), but Tofino is an exception. The real estate prices have soared in the last 5 – 10 years and is largely unaffordable for most families. The municipality has cracked down on the use of Airbnb and caused the community to have a very low supply of “Airbnb-able” properties. As a result, the properties that are allowed to act as short term rentals have increased in value.

Our Thoughts on Airbnb in Tofino

The community is affected by logistical problems with operating a business on an island. While the BC ferries are usually very reliable, the cost is exorbitant especially if its a frequent trip with a vehicle. Once you dock at the Naniamo ferry terminal you still have a 3+ hour drive.

Due to the high cost of real estate properties and logistical issues with running an Airbnb in the surfer tow, we recommend staying clear for now. We frequently watch this market as it certainly intrigues us, but for now its not on the table.

Whistler, BC

As the #1 ski resort in North America, it comes as no surprise that Whistler is a leading Airbnb town in BC. The municipality is Airbnb friendly, so long as you follow the basic bylaws. The tourist destination receives global attention from the ski and biking community thanks to its endless bike trails and back-country terrain. The zoning can become quite complicated if you’re not familiar with the town, but in a nutshell, you want to look for commercially zoned, Phase II properties either in Creekside, or the Village.

Our Thoughts on Airbnb in Whistler

Since Lifty Life originated in Whistler, we will always have a soft spot for the resort. That being said, we recognize the real estate prices in Whistler have soared to never-before-seen prices. Whistler has huge revenue potential since the demand for accommodation is extremely high. Overall, we believe Whistler is slightly over-priced, but an excellent buy if you’re looking for a long-term holding.

Kelowna, BC

As the third largest city in BC, Kelowna has a growing tourism destination. Known for wine and lake-side living, the community is bustling with outdoor activities. With 2,000,000 visitors a year and a local population of 150,000 the city has the infrastructure required to become one of Canada’s top tourist hot spots.

Our Thoughts on Airbnb in Kelowna

Airbnb’s in Kelowna have been around for quite some time. The last couple of years the municipality have created bylaws to restrict the short term rental market, but if you own commercially zoned property, you will likely be approved for a business license. Kelowna is affected by the empty homeowners tax, which taxes any vacation rental in the area at 1% of property value per year. So, with that, we recommend people be very confident with their numbers because that could make, or break, your investment.

Overall, we feel confident that Kelowna is poised to grow over the next ten years into a tourist powerhouse. So if you’re looking for a long-term investment, this could be the right market for you!

Vancouver, BC

The economic capital of BC; Vancouver is known for its high real estate prices, celebrity spotting, and tourist economy. With recent laws, it is clear Airbnb is largely unwanted by both the municipal and provincial governments. The taxation and regulation faced by hosts in this market is an embarrassment on the national level. While the Airbnb revenues generated are consistent year round and in for the most part quite high, the prices of real estate make it unaffordable today. 

Our Thoughts on Airbnb in Vancouver

With recent laws, it is clear Airbnb is largely unwanted by both the municipal and provincial governments. The taxation and regulation faced by hosts in this market is an embarrassment on the national level. While the Airbnb revenues generated are consistent year round and, for the most part, quite high the prices of real estate make it unaffordable today. This market is affected by the homeowners tax, which was the provincial governments attempt to resolve the housing crisis by charging a 1% tax on the property value per year.

Sun Peaks, BC

As the second largest ski resort in BC, Sun Peaks is a very unrated Airbnb town in BC. In fact, National Geographic announced Sun Peaks among the top 10 winter destinations in 2019. Many people compare Sun Peaks to a quieter and more humble Whistler. The terrain is top-notch, the restaurants and bars have a great après filled with high-energy skiers. Sun Peaks Resort is within the four hour window most ski enthusiasts are willing to drive from Vancouver and Kelowna.

Our Thoughts on Airbnb in Sun Peaks

Strictly comparing annual revenue to property value Sun Peaks might be the best bang for your buck. The ski resort has a very strong winter season, but seriously disappoints the rest of the year. If the ski resort has bad snowfall one year the revenue could be wiped out pretty quickly. The resort is pushing to develop its summer season, but has struggled to demand high rates. Overall, Sun Peaks is a good buy, if you can handle the risk of 1 or 2 bad snow years every once in a while. Alternatively, if you’re more of a summer person, this could be a great buy. Rent the property out in the winter and use it frequently in the summer; win-win!

Cultus Lake, BC

Cultus Lake is one of Vancouver’s favorite lake-town communities. Just an easy two hour commute from Vancouver you will arrive in a high-energy party town. With thousands of recreational properties, amusement parks, and water sports galore; this town was born to be a tourist attraction.

Our Thoughts on Airbnb in Cultus Lake

If you’re looking to purchase an affordable recreational property within a couple of hours of Vancouver then Cultus Lake is a must see! The community lacks apartment style accommodation, although recent developers have started to resolve this issue, but there are plenty of cabin’s available. The nightly rates vary significantly based on the property, but generally, $25,000 – $40,000 per year is possible. The town is very slow during the winter months since it is largely a summer destination.

One major thing to note is that most of the properties are “leasehold”, which means you’re effectively leasing the property from someone and do not own the land. This makes financing a bit more difficult since most banks want to secure the loans with the land. That being said, the prices are generally lower then other lake communities to compensate for the leasehold arrangement. New developments on the south end of the lake are being sold as “freehold” properties which is the conventional property type.


SOLD - Motel 9 units, Prince George BC, $599,900

nvestment opportunity potential gross income of $96,000 / year. Property is located in Prince George near everything that the neighbourhood has to offer.

The building has 9 residential units (8 bachelor and 1 two bedroom) and 2 retail spaces on the front ground level. The property was recently renovated (2016) with new electrical, plumbing and fire safety system. Structural, mechanical and electrical plans available. Property management services available to the potential buyer. Live-in caretaker.

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