A new report by the New York City Office of the Comptroller shows how home rental site Airbnb is personally burdening the city’s renters.
The report by Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, published last month, analyzes how much rents have gone up in various NYC neighborhoods due to housing units being taken off the market to serve as vacation getaways on Airbnb. The report looked at housing trends between 2009 and 2016, when rents in the city rose by an average of 25 percent (or $279 per month). Its opening summary determined that between 2011 and 2017, New York City lost approximately 183,000 affordable housing units of less than $1,000 per month.
Rents rose most rapidly in Brooklyn, by 35% ($340 per month) followe d by Queens by 22% ($242 per month); Bronx by 21% ($171 per month); Manhattan by 19% ($276 per month); and Staten Island by 14% ($129 per month)… During the same period, Airbnb listings skyrocketed, from 1,000 in 2010 to over 43,000 in 2015, before declining to slightly under 40,000 in 2016
The connection to Airbnb was quantified as a total $616 million rent increase by 2016, due to the lack of available units created by the growth of the home rental website. Roughly 9.2 percent of the total rent increase over the seven-year window Stringer analyzed was attributed to vacation rentals posted on Airbnb.
In trendier areas like the Greenpoint and Williamsburg neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Airbnb’s impact was even more pronounced, with approximately 20 percent of rent increases coming about as a result of apartments being turned into hotels through the site. Of the $659 monthly rent increase Stringer noted in his report for those two neighborhoods, $123 was directly attributed to Airbnb.
To be clear, as Splinter reported, the travel booking site disputes Stringer’s methodology for the study, saying that units put on Airbnb aren’t usually put up for vacation rentals all year round, and that some units are used as traditional housing units for various portions of the year, possibly lessening the site’s impact on rising rents.
However, this isn’t the first study that showed the home rental site was having an impact on rising rents. Even though factors like population growth and changing income demographics play a part in the cost of rent steadily increasing, another study from 2016 arrived at a similar conclusion. As Citylab reported, a study by economists from the University of Massachusetts analyzing data on real estate site Zillow found that for every 10 percent increase in Airbnb listings in various metro areas around the United States, rents also increased by 0.4 percent.
The home rental business likely isn’t slowing down anytime soon, however, as Expedia’s Homeaway website is competing in that space with increasing revenues, and other home-sharing sites like HomeToGo and Holidu closing in on Airbnb’s market share.
Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in the suburbs of Detroit.