Study: Airbnb pushing renters out of hot neighborhoods

More than 20% of East Village apartments off the market, say housing advocates
July 29, 2015 09:10AM

Airbnb, beloved by tourists and “hosts,” is bad for everyone else, pushing rental apartments off the market in hot neighborhoods, a new study by housing advocates finds.

The most popular neighborhood for Airbnb rentals, the East Village, saw 28 percent of rental units converted into illegal hotel rooms, according to the analysis by the New York Communities for Change and Real Affordability For All. The 20 most popular neighborhoods as a whole lost about 10 percent of their units, the New York Daily News reported.

The study’s authors relied on U.S. Census data as well as data culled from the company’s website.

Airbnb, now valued at an astounding $25.5 billion, with over one million listings in 34,000 cities, has repeatedly insisted that the majority of its users are normal tenants, making extra money and supporting a community of like-minded travelers. But the company has also refused to share its data with analysts. The study though, found that the average listing was available 247 days a year and rented an average of 109 days. Around 60 percent of listings are illegal ‘whole unit’ rentals, the study found.

A spokesperson for the company called the research “just ludicrous” and characterized it as “lies, fuzzy math and faulty stats,” criticizing the advocates’ use of data scraped from the company’s website, saying it wasn’t representative.

The New York Attorney General’s Office called Airbnb out on many of the same points in a report last year, based on data subpoenaed from the company. [NYDN] – Ariel Stulberg