May 4, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Greenpoint residents pay an average of more than $100 per month in additional rent due to the growing number of Airbnb listings in the area, according to a new report.
The report, released yesterday by city Comptroller Scott Stringer, says the home-sharing site has driven up rent costs in the five boroughs, especially in tourist-heavy and gentrifying neighborhoods.
Airbnb units, the comptroller says, effectively remove housing units from the overall supply, therefore bringing the costs of rents up.
The report looks at the impact of Airbnb from 2009 to 2016.
In Greenpoint and Williamsburg, where Airbnb units make up 8.3 percent of the over 50,000 total listings around the city, monthly rent went up by $659 in these years, or 62.6 percent. Of this increase, $123, or 18.6 percent, can be attributed to Airbnb’s growth.
The rent rise in the two neighborhoods rose at higher rates than the borough average of 35 percent.
The Airbnb listings here, according to the report, cost area residents $66.5 million in additional rent in 2016.
Overall, New Yorkers paid an additional $616 million in 2016 because of Airbnb.
Bushwick residents also saw rent increases due to Airbnb’s presence. From 2009 to 2016, monthly rent increased by $369, of which $58 can be traced back to the home-sharing company. Listings here also constitute 5 percent of all Airbnb units in the city.
The report comes as the city faces an affordability and homelessness crisis, the comptroller said.
“For years, New Yorkers have felt the burden of rents that go nowhere but up, and Airbnb is one reason why,” Stringer said. “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.”
He added: “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 and its data provider AirDNA rejected the comptroller’s findings, calling the report “factually wrong” and pointing to several issues with the report’s methodology.
“The very foundation of the report is deeply flawed,” said Chris Lehane, Head of Global Policy at Airbnb, in a statement. “Assuming that all Airbnb Hosts are renting their homes 365 nights a year is akin to conducting a traffic study that assumes all cars in New York are on the road all day, every day.
Airbnb says the majority of hosts are sharing the home in which they live, not removing housing from the market. Blaming rent increases on everyday New Yorkers who act at hosts, the company adds, “defies logic”.
Airbnb also notes that rents in Brooklyn and other areas have gone down in recent months.
“In this report, our hardworking host community is once again faulted for an affordability crisis that they have no part in — and one that they themselves face every day,” Airbnb said.
The company has also filed a FOIL request with the Comptroller’s office for all communications involving the report, adding that they have reason to believe the report was “influenced by powerful special interests.”