Wednesday, November 04, 2015

San Francisco's Airbnb Vote

Yesterday San Francisco voted against toughening regulation on short-term rentals in the city. The Los Angeles Times has mapped the results. The Proposition F Results Map shows which precincts in the city voted for and against the measures and the difference between yes and no votes in each precinct.

Despite the rejection of new tougher measures on short-term rentals, criticisms of the effect of short-term rental companies on the housing market don't look like going away. Airbnb in particular seems to be in the firing line of many housing campaigners.

For example, Inside Airbnb has mapped the number of 'whole houses' been listed on Airbnb in a number of cities around the world. In San Francisco 57.4% of Airbnb properties are whole houses / apartments.

Inside Airbnb argues that the effect of such a high number of whole properties being listed on Airbnb is to remove much needed property from the housing market and can also be disruptive to neighbors of these permanently short-term rented properties.

The San Francisco Chronicle has also been investigating the effect of Airbnb on San Francisco's housing problems. The Chronicle's investigation, Airbnb's Impact in San Francisco, includes a map measuring Airbnb activity in the city by neighborhood. The map includes three choropleth layers showing the number of Airbnb listings by neighborhood, the average price in each neighborhood and the number of reviews per neighborhood.

The Chronicle's map reveals that 4.8 percent of hosts in San Francisco have three or more properties. These power users may well be commercial landlords exploiting the service to make higher profits from short-term rentals rather than from renting out their properties to long term tenants. The effect of this could be to remove much needed housing stock from the market. 

So, although Airbnb may have won the battle over Proposition F, I suspect that the war over short-term rentals in San Francisco may rage on a little longer.

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