August 24, 2016
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo ponders legislation to sharply restrict advertising of Airbnb rentals, a new study from the data-based website FiveThirtyEight shows that at least a third of rentals are commercial—meaning entire homes or apartments are rented out for much of the time. The bottom line on the FiveThirtyEight analysis is that the vast majority of New York listings on Airbnb reflect what the site claims is its primary mission—allowing people to rent rooms or couches or apartments to supplement their incomes. However, people turning their homes or apartments into hotel rooms, which is already illegal, accounts for about a third of Airbnb revenue generated in New York. The crucial issue here is whether such commercial activity raises rents, or in the case of New York, is concentrated on more affordable apartments—especially below-market, rent-regulated units. This analysis suggests that nationally, the effect on rent is small but that it is more significant in very tight housing markets such as New York….