The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project has a new report out today investigating the role vacation rental companies like Airbnb and VRBO play in San Francisco’s housing market. As you might expect from the activist organization, the report offers a grim picture of the effect these “sharing economy” services have on the city.
The report uses data the group has gathered over the past two years as well as demographic data released by the companies themselves, among other sources. It argues that the economy of short-term vacation rentals primarily benefit already wealthy property owners and exacerbates the housing shortage.
“The sharing economy represents the loss of hard fought tenant and labor gains, heightens levels of social inequality and increases the grip of the market in new spheres of social life,” states the report’s conclusion.
Here are a few points the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project uses to make this case:
- According to the report, the number of vacation rentals are growing and taking permanent housing units off the market. In tracking listings on VRBO, the Mapping Project found that 290 listings were added between August 2012 and July 2014.
- The report states that many users of these sites own multiple properties and use vacation rentals as their primary business. In their study of VRBO, the Mapping Project found that 31 percent of the owners of those buildings owned multiple properties. A similar percentage was found in a report by the San Francisco Chronicle on Airbnb ownership earlier this year.
- The report argues that many tenants renting out spare rooms aren’t doing so because they’re in need of spare cash—they’re already well off. Citing Airbnb’s own data, the report points out that 59 percent of hosts in San Francisco make over $70,000 and 40 percent of hosts earn over $100,000.
According to the report, the Mission is the most sought after destination for Airbnb renters and the effects are detrimental:
The working class Latino heritage can still be felt in the restaurants, festivals, and murals, but housing opportunities are being rapidly gobbled up as pied-à-terre, and by affluent newcomers, who prefer lively neighborhoods over gated suburban communities…. Everyday people that made San Francisco (and the Mission) attractive as a tourist destination and a place to live, find themselves priced out.
The report doesn’t have any specific policy recommendations, but offers the resounding opinion that these vacation rental services are bad for the city.
You can read the full report below: