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Airbnb listings cost renters an additional $616M in 2016

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A new report says that Airbnb is responsible for rising rents in some Manhattan and Brooklyn neighborhoods

City comptroller Scott Stringer has released a new report that examines the correlation between homesharing listings on platforms like Airbnb and rent increases within particular neighborhoods. The report found that Airbnb has played a significant role in rent spikes within tourists and gentrifying neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn (h/t The New York Times) and in 2016, New York City renters paid an additional $616 million due to the “price pressures created by Airbnb.”

The report claims that between 2009 and 2016, approximately 9.2 percent of the city’s rent increases can be attributed to Airbnb. “The trendy replacement for hotels and hostels in effect removes housing units from the overall supply—units that might otherwise be available to rent to New Yorkers looking to rent an apartment,” it states. “The most basic concept in the field of economics—supply and demand—says that, everything else equal, a reduction in supply will lead to higher prices.”

In 2016, 52 percent of all of the city’s Airbnb listings were in Manhattan and 35 percent were in Brooklyn. In Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, and Midtown’s business district—where roughly 11 percent of all of the city’s Airbnb listings were located in 2016—monthly rents increased an average of $398 between 2009 and 2016. In Brooklyn, Greenpoint and Williamsburg saw the biggest rent spikes—18.6 percent within the same time frame—due to Airbnb listings.

“For years, New Yorkers have felt the burden of rents that go nowhere but up, and Airbnb is one reason why,” said Stringer. “From Bushwick to Chinatown and in so many neighborhoods in-between, affordable apartments that should be available to rent never hit the market, because they are making a profit for Airbnb.”

Airbnb officials criticized Stringer’s report, stating that it blamed the company for rent increases but failed to take other factors into account, such as rezonings. However, Stringer responded by saying that the methodology used in the report did consider other variables that included employment rates, household income, and population.

Airbnb officials also argue that the majority of hosts are sharing the home in which they live, and therefore, aren’t removing permanent housing from the market at all. “[A]nyone who lives in New York knows that the City has had a declared housing emergency since the end of World War II and that prices have been rising for decades,” said an Airbnb spokesperson in a statement to Curbed. “In fact, home prices in New York City were soaring long before Airbnb was even founded, increasing by 124% from 1996 to 2006 alone.”

You can read the report in its entirety here.