NYC Airbnb Housing Affordability Report Is Deeply Flawed

Abigail Long | May 4, 2018

The world’s leading provider of short-term rental data and analytics AirDNA disputes the conclusions drawn by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer in a report released on Thursday, May 3rd, 2018.

The report, which incorrectly interpreted AirDNA data to make assumptions on the impact of Airbnb on New York City rental prices, comes to flawed conclusions at great cost to the thousands of Airbnb hosts that rely on the platform to make ends meet.

At no point did the Comptroller contact AirDNA to ask for guidance or our professional expertise on how to read the data, leading to several crucial errors in his interpretation of the numbers.

The Comptroller mistakes every unique listing ever uploaded onto the site as the number of listings that were active in that year. A large portion of Airbnb listings are not active. They sit idly on the site, made unavailable for rent by hosts and/or unbooked by guests, and therefore have little to no effect on rent prices.

All Airbnb listing types – Entire Homes, Private Rooms and Shared Rooms – are included in the Comptroller’s listing count. When a host lists their Private Room or a Shared Room on Airbnb, they are not removing a home from the residential housing market. To conflate these listing types is totally misguided and misrepresents New Yorkers that rent out a spare bedroom to supplement their income, or help pay their mortgage.

Lastly, the Comptroller mistakenly assumes that if an Airbnb rental is merely listed on the site (even if it is only available for one night in a year), it has the same effect on the residential housing market as a full-time, professionally managed listing. Our data shows that over half of all Airbnbs in New York City were rented out just 1-3 months in the last year, suggesting that they are part-time, seasonal rentals, rented while a host is away on holiday or if an apartment is between tenancy agreements, for example.

At AirDNA, we see a totally different picture of the presence of Airbnb in New York City. Almost half of all active listings are Private Rooms. There are over five times more single-listing hosts than multi-listing hosts, and 65% of properties are managed by hosts with just one listing. These Airbnb hosts are families trying to make some extra money in a city where, indeed, rental prices are rising.

“AirDNA fully supports Airbnb in condemning the Comptroller’s analysis,” stated AirDNA CEO Scott Shatford. “The Comptroller is once again using Airbnb as a scapegoat for a housing affordability crisis that has been growing for decades. In New York City, just over 5,300 Entire Homes were rented on Airbnb for six months or more in the past year, representing 0.2% of the total housing supply – it is impossible for Airbnb to have a material impact on housing prices.”

Share This

Share This

Share short-term rental analytics and insights with your friends!