While many cities have sought to regulate the proliferation of Airbnb units in their communities, empirical evidence of the platform’s impact on local rental markets remains scant. This report, prepared by BJH Advisors LLS for New York City’s Housing Conservation Coordinators and MFY Legal Services, contributes significant analysis on Airbnb’s impact in one of the company’s largest marketplaces.

Affordable, quality housing is extremely limited in New York City, which for decades has experienced vacancy rates lower than 5 per cent. At the same time, rental prices have increased dramatically – by 27 per cent since 2000 – while household income has remained stagnant. One of the many factors exacerbating these worrying dynamics is the short-term rental of residential housing. Using advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, this study develops an occupancy model based on Airbnb data to assess the extent to which short-term letting contributes to New York’s housing challenge.

 

Study highlights and key findings:

  • 90 per cent of all Airbnb listing are concentrated in Manhattan and Brooklyn, with 53 per cent located in one of five ‘macro-neighbourhoods’.
  • More than 55 per cent of listings allow for bookings of an entire Apartment/Home.
  • Commercial use of Airbnb is pervasive – more than 30 per cent of listings in New York City are classified as Commercial.
  • 16 per cent of all listings are classified as ‘Impact Listings’, units that are most likely to result in the reduction in the supply of residential units, adding to the issue of excessively low vacancy and rising prices.
  • If all Impact Listings were made available on the rental market, the number of units citywide would increase by 10 per cent and the vacancy rate would rise from 3.4 per cent to 4.0 per cent.