New Breakthrough Study Smashes Airbnb’s Homesharing Myth

Hot off the presses, a new study documents the rise of commercial activity taking place on Airbnb nationwide. The study adds to the overwhelming weight of evidence that the real driver of Airbnb’s growth are commercial operators who at best stretch – and often break – the law.

The study reveals that Airbnb’s business is moving even further away from the mom and pop, renting-out-a-room-to-earn-a-buck homesharing it has long claimed.

In fact, 81% of Airbnb’s U.S. revenue – a whopping $4.6 billion – comes from whole-unit rentals where the owner is not present during the time of the rental.

Hmm… it almost makes you wonder if the billions of dollars Airbnb makes off of these units – and not, say, spare guest bedrooms – are why they refuse to share transparent data about their operations.

Despite its claims of helping people afford to stay in their homes, Airbnb has facilitated the growth of “illegal hotels” in residential neighborhoods that are disrupting communities, impacting affordable housing and jeopardizing safety and security for guests and neighbors alike.

That doesn’t really seem like a fair trade-off to us.

This study echoes a growing body of research that shows Airbnb “hosts” renting out two or more entire home units are the fastest growing segment of Airbnb’s business in the U.S., generating nearly $2 billion in revenue nationally in 2016, or 40% of Airbnb’s entire-unit national revenue.

The study shows that the country’s illegal hotel problem is only getting worse, although there are some markets (New York City and San Francisco) where the data indicates that stricter short-term rental regulation may be effective at curbing illegal hotel activity.

Hopefully, this new data provides policymakers with the information they need to continue efforts to close the “illegal hotel loophole” and hold Airbnb accountable for the unregulated commercial activity taking place on its platform.

The full report, Hosts with Multiple Units – A Key Driver of Airbnb Growth, is available for download HERE.