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What Airbnb really does to a neighbourhood?

What Airbnb really does to a neighbourhood?

The marketplace for short-term rental properties has exploded over the last decade, and it’s a real estate niche that’s showing nothing but financial growth trends for the future. With over five million hosts, Airbnb had already reported $2.7 million in profit by October of 2018. Other major hospitality brokerage companies boast similar growths. Yet, the numbers are still disconnected from how individuals generally feel about owning and living alongside STRs.

Short-term rentals meet a consumer need left unfulfilled by other temporary housing sources. Simultaneously, they’re also helping homeowner hosts make buying decisions when they calculate mortgage payment options with the potential rental income stream on properties they don’t plan to use throughout the year.

From neighborhoods large and small alike, these short-term vacation rentals are popping up everywhere because they’re good for both the consumer and host. But, how do the neighborhoods these Airbnb, HomeAway, Vrbo, and other short-term rentals are in feel about these additions to their community? Do they add anything to a neighborhood already thriving with long-term residents?

Given that many state and local officials have developed some very stringent, if not banning, laws concerning short-term rental properties due to the fears of disruption voiced by local residents, it’s worthwhile to explore who isn’t onboard with a niche that brings value to both host and renters.

According to the home remodeling website, it’s a mixed bag of opinion as to whether or not a homeowner would even consider short-term rental of their own home. It’s a same split decision on how they feel about neighbors using their homes as Airbnb’s and such.

Porch surveyed almost 1,000 respondents on the subject, and they found that the respondents who’d used short-term rentals for their own vacation housing needs had a very different opinion than those who’d never personally utilized one.

What Airbnb really does to a neighbourhood?

Those who’d utilized an STR for their own vacation housing needs were 48 percent in favor of welcoming an STR into their neighborhood and 28 percent against the idea. Meanwhile, those who’d never stayed in a STR were 47 percent in opposition to the idea and 22 percent in favor of it.

The above Porch finding indicates that opposition may at least in part be due to unfamiliarity, but the respondents did have plenty of reasoning behind their disapproval of STRs in their neighborhoods, including:

  • Local laws make STRs illegal in the area - 6 percent.
  • STR hosts may not pay taxes - 7.2 percent.
  • Their neighborhood/HOA bans STRs - 9.7 percent.
  • STRs would cause long-term rent to rise - 12.4 percent.
  • STRs just shouldn’t be allowed anywhere - 14.4 percent.
  • STRs take away livable spaces from people who want to reside in the neighborhood - 21.8 percent.
  • STRs make it harder for residents to sell their homes in the future — 30.1 percent.
  • The quality of life for neighborhood residents will worsen - 34.4 percent.
  • Parking problems caused by STRs - 35.6 percent.
  • STRs increase outsider foot traffic in the neighborhood- 37 percent.
  • Property value is decreased by STRs - 47 percent.
  • STRs mean renters coming and going at odd hours - 52.8 percent.
  • STR renters won’t care about the neighborhood- 60.2 percent.
  • STRs being unknown people who aren’t vetted into the neighborhood- 63 percent.
  • Safety issues that stem from STRs - 64.1 percent.
  • Disruption to neighborhood peace and quiet from STR renters - 64.4 percent.

Another interesting difference in opinion within the survey was based on age. Those over age 50 were nearly twice as likely as their younger counterparts to worry about noise and other potential negative impacts of short-term rentals. Those most open to welcoming and hosting STRs were the millennial respondents.

While there’s a clear line of opposition, interestingly enough, the survey found that almost 50 percent of the respondents didn’t know if short-term rentals already existed in their own neighborhoods.

Those that did respond with knowledge of short-term rentals existing in their community were half and half as to whether they had negative or positive interactions.

With nearly 70 percent of respondents saying no, 25 percent saying they’ve thought about it, and only four percent saying they’ve already been a host, it’s clear that many homeowners aren’t going to jump out and make an STR out of their property just yet. The ball is still in air on acceptance, though.

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