Airbnb Probably Isn’t Driving Rents Up Much, At Least Not Yet
by Ariel Stulberg, 538, August 24, 2016 (excerpts)
…a FiveThirtyEight analysis of Airbnb booking and revenue data provided by consulting firm Airdna gives the most rigorous look to date at how many units Airbnb could be taking off the rental market nationwide. It shows that Airbnb’s impact is probably still small in most cities, but it also shows that a disproportionately large share of the company’s revenue comes from the listings that most worry its critics — homes that are rented out for a large portion of the year. That could give the company an incentive to focus on increasing such listings as it grows — something some experts believe may already be happening.….
a growing number of the rooms on Airbnb are so-called commercial listings — whole units rented out full time, like hotel rooms. It is these commercial units that have drawn the most scrutiny from critics such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Diane Feinstein and Brian Schatz, who last month wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission calling for an investigation into the practice. Critics argue commercial listings take off the market units that would otherwise be available to local residents, thereby reducing the supply of housing and driving up rents….
The revenue numbers alone don’t necessarily mean Airbnb is having much effect on rents in the cities where it operates. That is because the raw number of commercial units in most cities remains low, under 1,000 in all but the biggest cities….
Honolulu 1,400 active Air BnB listings -- 21.1% commercial (the highest proportion of any US city) = 295 commercial BnB units
Honolulu $26M Air BnB host revenue -- 45.0% commercial (2nd highest proportion of any US city)
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