The findings of a new study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles may provide more support for cities seeking to restrict Airbnb rentals. The yet-to-be-published report will show that the proliferation of short-term rentals is positively correlated with the increase in both rental rates and house prices.
Once released, the findings will no doubt be interpreted differently by each side of the Airbnb debate. City council members in favor of restricting short-term rentals will point to the survey as proof that Airbnb is causing shortages in affordable housing. Airbnb and property owners will likely claim that the numbers are not significant. The report will show that the researchers found that a 10% increase in Airbnb listings leads to a 0.39% increase in rents and a 0.64% increase in house prices.
Dr. Edward Kung, an assistant professor of economics at the University of California Los Angeles and one of the study’s authors, told the Wall Street Journal that the results appeared to show Airbnb was contributing the “affordability crisis” ongoing in many cities across the U.S. where rising house prices and rents are resulting in one-third of Americans spending more than 30% or more of their monthly incomes on housing.
Kung said that the effect of Airbnb’s short-term rentals was to remove them from the supply of long-term rentals, leading to an increase in the price of long-term rental units and of homes, correspondingly.
The paper drew its data by scraping Airbnb listings from the website and compared them to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI), which is the median estimate for a geographic area, and the Zillow Rent Index (ZRI), which is based on rent estimates.
When the paper is finally published, it will almost certainly spark further debate on the merits of Airbnb, the importance of affordable housing, and the rights of property owners. Subscribe to our newsletter to keep track of this story and others impacting the business of Airbnb and short-term renting.