Airbnb released a report this month using data on Seattle to refute accusations that their home sharing business caters to wealthy real estate moguls and drives down affordable housing. The business says almost 80 percent of its listings in Seattle are for full homes, and apartments are rented less than 90 days a year, which is not enough to impact the housing market.
The report comes in response to public criticism including a satirical ad released by anti-Airbnb group ShareBetter claiming that consumers supporting Airbnb were helping real estate giants evict tenants and make millions renting out their properties as illegal hotels. Here’s their sarcastic pitch.
According to the Airbnb report, most entire home listings on Airbnb in Seattle are primary residents sharing their homes: “81 percent of all Airbnb hosts in Seattle are primary residents of the home they share. Of that, 72 percent of Airbnb hosts in Seattle who share an entire home are sharing their primary residence — the home in which they live. An additional 14 percent are sharing a second home they live in for part of the year.”
The business’s findings are based on analysis of Airbnb bookings data, survey data of the Airbnb community in Seattle, and publicly available census and community survey data.
Airbnb compared the average long-term rental income in Seattle of entire home living units ($1,897 per month) with the short-term rental income ($145 per night). Airbnb claims that on average, entire home units must be short-term rented for at least 157 days of the year before they would make the same amount of money as renting long-term to a tenant. But most entire home units are short-term rented less than 60 days per year.
Airbnb says only 296 of the almost 3,000 listings in Seattle are rented above that threshold.
“This data shows that hosts are renting short-term for less money than they could earn on the long-term market, suggesting that hosts are not materially decreasing the housing supply,” the report said. “A few thousand families — less than 1 percent of the Seattle population — sharing the home in which they live is not a significant driver of housing prices.”
For example, the average monthly rent in Capitol Hill is $1,821 and the average nightly Airbnb income for an entire home is $157. If a host in Capitol Hill were to earn as much as a long-term renter, they would have to Airbnb share their homes 139 days of the year. According to Airbnb data, less than 50 percent of hosts in Capitol Hill share their homes 139 days of the year or more which is not enough to impact the housing market.
Capitol Hill, Seattle. Photo: Flickr
In fact, Airbnb argues that it is improving conditions for Seattle residents by providing an extra source of income to put toward their own housing expenses.
“The typical host in Seattle earns about $8,000 per year by sharing his or her home, 59 percent of which goes towards household expenses like mortgage or rent (34 percent), regular household expenses like bills and groceries (17 percent), and savings (8 percent),” says the report.
The Space Needle. Photo: Flickr
According to interviews the Seattle Times conducted with affordable housing advocates, locals haven’t felt a negative effect from Airbnb. Still, they urge the city to conduct their own objective study to determine the potential impact of Airbnb on the Seattle housing market of the future.