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Scott: I am an Airbnb hypocrite — because I love to travel.
Airbnb makes travel more affordable for tourists but renting more expensive for locals. Is this really true?
There have been various studies and investigations that say so. Of course, some of these may or may not have been corrupted with hotel sponsorship money.
But I’ll go with my intuition / common sense on this one. Have rents in (insert popular tourist city here) gone up because of people snapping up apartments to list on Airbnb for more money than they could get from a tenant? I’ll say YES… in the popular neighborhoods of those cities.
It’s supply and demand. I’m NOT talking about the person who lives alone in a 2-bedroom apartment and rents out their spare bedroom on occasion. This is about the person / business who buys or rents an apartment (or many!) then makes it into a mini-hotel.
Airbnb has been a big part of how I’m able to stay so long overseas. I like to rent a regular place in a convenient area, but not on the main tourist strip so I save money and get a more authentic experience.
Then I’ll use points to splurge for a fancy weekend hotel stay.
I can’t imagine all the Airbnb apartments for rent do NOT drive up rents for locals. It seems to me that it’s a great business for the locals who participate and not so great for those who don’t.
For instance, I stayed in Krakow, Poland, where my host had apparently created a network of apartments all over town — and with multiple units in our building.
You can’t tell me that kind of thing doesn’t cut some of the supply and thus raise prices… unless there’s just a glut of affordable housing in the area.
One argument I do NOT buy is that hotels lose a lot of business to Airbnb. Because they’re totally different experiences. And because — take my situation for example — I want to stay 6 weeks in a city. I’m never going to buy 6 weeks at a hotel.
But I have purchased 5 weeks at an Airbnb and added on a week at a hotel using money and points. So the hotel got business it wasn’t going to get if I didn’t have a way to stay longer in that city. And local businesses got more of my tourist spending and so on.
So I like all that for MY neighborhood in MY city, but naturally I don’t want that to increase rents. Unless of course I decide to become a landlord…
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