Airbnb Rentals Aggravate Housing Woes in San Francisco

short term rentalsIn a report recently published by the San Francisco Budget and Legislative Analyst, an analysis of over 6000 Airbnb listings on the greater San Francisco concluded that Airbnb alone may be responsible for taking away as many as 1,960 rental units off the market for long term rentals.

According to the report, total short term rental listings from sites like Airbnb, Homeaway, Flipkey, and others appear to account for less than 1% the total rental market.

However, these same listings could make up to 15% of the available, vacant units on the market–these are units that could be exclusively used for short term rentals that otherwise would have been available to local residents.

The report was conducted at the request of San Francisco Board Supervisor David Campos, who at a recent news conference cited the report as proof that short term rental sites like Airbnb are driving low and middle income families out of the city.

Currently, short term rentals in San Francisco can legally rent out an unlimited number of days in a year and up to 90 days unhosted.  A proposed legislation by Campos would change the total short term rental days allowed to 90 days, whether hosted or not.  If approved, this could substantially cut the available listings of short term rentals by 75% almost over night.

Supporters of Airbnb have countered that short term rentals have allowed many to add the need extra income in order to stay in the city.  Some even argue that short term rentals have drawn more tourism to the city, thus generating extra revenue.

Regardless of which side this coin lands on, it seems that there will be some losers and some winners.

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