Airbnb growth slows worldwide as regulations increase

Listings grew 35% in February, compared to 110% in October

Airbnb Founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky (Credit: Getty Images)
Airbnb Founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky (Credit: Getty Images)

With lawmakers in New York and other cities across the globe clamping down on home-sharing, Airbnb is struggling to grow at the same explosive rate it’s accustomed to.

Year-over-year worldwide growth at the $31 billion startup has been trending downward since October, according to a new report by Swiss investment bank UBS cited by CNBC.

Listings that month grew by about 110 percent, but in February that figure had slipped to about 35 percent.

Not coincidentally, Gov. Andrew Cuomo in October signed a law prohibiting New Yorkers from advertising illegal short-term listings on sites like Airbnb. The city earlier this year started fining landlords and renters who allegedly violated the law.

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And in Barcelona, short-term rentals require a special license, which the city stopped issuing in 2014.

The only way to start a new Airbnb listing there is to buy a property that has an existing license, according to CNBC, which noted the city fined Airbnb nearly $640,000 for advertising unlicensed listings.

“Our analysis suggests it is likely that regulation is having a negative impact on the supply and demand growth of Airbnb, especially in New York and Barcelona,” UBS said in a note. “Both cities showed year-on-year declines in available listing nights of around 10 percent in Feb 2017.”

UBS noted that there are cities that have increased regulation such as San Francisco, London and Paris where the effect on Airbnb’s growth is still unclear.

The company is still growing, just not at the same rate it has in the past. In its seven largest markets – the United States, France, Italy, Japan, Spain, the U.K. and Germany – the number of available listings each night grew by 40 percent year-over-year during the last three months, according to UBS. [CNBC]Rich Bockmann