NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer released a report yesterday that blames Airbnb for nearly 10 percent of the increase in citywide rentals between 2009 and 2016.
Stringer’s office alleges that New York renters paid $616 million in 2016 because of Airbnb’s influence on the housing market, with Bushwick renters accounting for about $25 million of that figure.
According to the Comptroller’s study, monthly rents in Bushwick rose from $935 to $1,304 between 2009 and 2016; Airbnb price pressures were responsible for about 15 percent of the $369 increase. In 2016, there were 36,052 rental units listed in the neighborhood; 1,990 were Airbnb, the study said.
The Comptroller’s report says that there’s greater demand for housing in NYC because some apartments that could be rented to locals are used instead for pricier Airbnb rentals, which is illegal in many cases but lightly enforced.
“For years, New Yorkers have felt the burden of rents that go nowhere but up, and Airbnb is one reason why. 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,” Stringer said in a statement. “Airbnb has grown exponentially at the expense of New Yorkers who face rising rents and the risk of being pushed out of communities they helped build. If we’re going to preserve the character of our neighborhoods and expand our middle class, we have to put people before profits. It’s that simple.”
Airbnb fired back at Stringer with a response, saying that middle class families can live in NYC and keep up with high rents because they have the opportunity to list their homes on Airbnb.
“The majority of our hosts are sharing the home in which they live, not removing permanent housing from the market,” the response said. “In fact, as NYU researchers recently found, in order for someone to make as much money from an Airbnb guest as from a long-term tenant, they would have to share a home for 216 nights a year in New York City — more than triple the number of nights that a typical listing is shared.”
Airbnb said that Stringer’s report was sketchy, claiming that “home prices in New York City were soaring long before Airbnb was even founded, increasing by 124% from 1996 to 2006 alone.”
Chris Lehane, Head of Global Policy at Airbnb, said in a statement that Airbnb has filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request with the Comptroller’s office for “any and all communications regarding the conception and development of their factually wrong report on the impact of home sharing on New York City’s housing market.”
“Additionally, other information has been brought to our attention and we have reason to believe that this report was influenced by powerful special interests,” Lehane said. “This report was paid for with taxpayer dollars and the public has the right to know about who participated in this snow job.”
Cover image courtesy of Stock Catalogue