Airbnb’s short-term rentals are exacerbating a housing shortage and crowding out local communities, according to a report from The Guardian.
The Guardian cross-referenced a database of Airbnb listings with government housing data. While the database included shared rooms, private rooms, and entire homes, 67 percent of the listings were for whole apartments.
In some areas, the analysis found that one in four properties were listed for short-term rentals on Airbnb. In spots with the most listings, such as Edinburgh’s Old Town, it approached one in three properties. Other locations with an especially high incidence of listings included northwestern Skye, as well as Woolacombe, Georgeham, and Croyde in Devon. In London, Fitzrovia West, Soho, and Brick Lane North had the highest percentage of listings.
The findings add to growing concern that short-term rentals are contributing to a worsening housing crisis.
Globally, Airbnb hosts 7 million listings, in 100,000 cities in 220 countries and regions. And despite touting economic benefits for homeowners and local economies, they’ve have faced fresh scrutiny over the negative impacts.
An analysis by the non-profit, non-partisan Economic Policy Institute found that any benefits are overshadowed by the “Airbnb effect.” In a process similar to gentrification, listings boost the value of an area, raising prices and making housing inaccessible to residents that were already living there.
London has the world’s largest number of Airbnb listings, with over half of those listings for entire properties.
According to Dan Wilson Craw, director of the housing campaigner group Generation Rent, said:
“The unchecked growth of online holiday lettings is depriving communities of much-needed homes. In rural areas and cities alike, the story is the same: young adults can’t afford to settle down in the areas they grew up in.”
Following the report’s publication, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said local councils should be given new powers to regulate Airbnb and similar platforms.
“The pressure put on the availability of local housing by Airbnb in some areas of UK is intolerable. Local councils must be given powers to regulate this, so local housing needs are not squeezed out,” she tweeted Friday.
Last month, she had already called for a 90-day limit on Airbnb rentals.
The company has disputed The Guardian’s findings, saying that some properties are only listed for a few nights each year, and that some rentals like manor houses and caravans won’t impact the rest of the housing market.
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