NYC now has more Airbnb listings than apartments for rent

Photo-Illustration: Lined; Photo: Getty Images

The fever does not drop. There are now bidding wars for one in five rental apartments in Manhattan (and one in three luxury units), according to the latest Douglas Elliman report. Inventory across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and northwest Queens hovers well below 10,000 units — in April, the number was just 7,669. That’s several thousand fewer than the number of Airbnb rentals. entire apartments and entire homes available in New York right now: 10,572, according to AirDNA, a third-party site that tracks short-term rentals. Inside Airbnbanother site, which scrapes Airbnb for listing data, puts the number even higher, at 20,397.

Since Airbnb’s arrival in 2008, there were fears that the short-term rental company was depleting the housing stock by sucking up available rooms, causing prices to rise in cities like New York and San Francisco, where there were already severe housing shortages. The absolute number of apartments and houses available on the site peaked before the pandemic and has since declined, according to Inside Airbnb and AirDNA. But there is a difference now: there are so few apartments available that Airbnbs make up the majority of rentals available in the city.

Airbnb does not publish listing or booking data and would not comment on data collected by AirDNA and Inside Airbnb, although its representatives were willing to confirm that its listing inventory in New York has declined since the start of the crisis. pandemic. They pointed to several other factors — none related to Airbnb — that may have contributed to the housing shortage. “Over the past two years, our entire supply of space across the city has shrunk and now represents a fraction of a percent of rental units in the city – and all this while rent prices have risen and that permits issued by the city for new unit development remain down by a double-digit percentage,” a company spokesperson wrote in an email. This number is somewhat played: Airbnb compares its inventory to the total number of rental units in New York, not just those available, which in 2017 were 2.18 million. But, of course, only a tiny fraction of those are open in any given year, let alone any given month.

The company has, for its part, always vehemently denied it plays a role in the housing shortage, insisting it provides income that helps people stay in expensive towns they would otherwise have to leave. . Its representatives also pointed out several factors that can make retrieved third-party data inaccurate: multiple listings for the same property, and listings that show as active but are rarely available – for example, a townhouse that owners only rent when they travel, which means it is active all year round but is only available a few weeks a year. But even if AirDNA and Inside Airbnb grossly overestimate the number of apartment and home listings on the site, and with the caveat that Douglas Elliman’s rental reports don’t cover the Bronx or Staten Island, it seems likely that the number is at least globally accurate. (Inside Airbnb only has 624 listings for apartments or entire homes in these two boroughs, so they’re only a minor factor in the total number.) In addition to listings for full homes, there are nearly 9,000 private and shared rooms available. on Airbnb, according to AirDNA.

Does it matter that there are more Airbnbs than rental listings right now? Doesn’t that show how rare all rentals are (except hotel rooms, It is)? Well, yes, but with people fighting for every decent apartment that comes on the market, it’s worth noting how many apartments have been taken out of circulation to become short-term rentals. Some may be townhouses or condos rented only a few weeks a year, sure, but surely many are brownstone garden apartments that a decade ago might have been rented out to long-term tenants. (On a Brooklyn mailing list I belong to, every few months someone asks about Airbnbing instead of renting the garden level of their brownstone.) The city’s housing market, still tense, is now close to crisis. You would have a much better chance of finding a a bedroom in a brownstone for a few weeks than a one-year lease. Which doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.

Although the common wisdom was that more apartments would come on the market in the spring and early summer as the leases that were signed during the influx of returning New Yorkers were renewed, this doesn’t seem to be happening. Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel, who wrote the Douglas Elliman report, said while things seemed to be improving in March, with inventory rising and rents stabilizing, in April the shortage started to worsen again. Median net effective rent in Manhattan rose year-over-year to a new high ($3,925) at the highest rate on record, and listing inventory saw the largest annual decline ever recorded. “The market isn’t turning, it’s actually accelerating,” Miller said. “Greater accessibility is not around the corner. More and more people are silent. »

After all, why move if there’s nowhere to go?

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