Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Politics

PolitiFact Florida: Does Airbnb decrease housing values?

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine recently went on a Facebook rant against Airbnb.

A potential Democratic candidate for governor in 2018, Levine wrote that Miami Beach commissioners aren't the only opponents of the company, which allows property owners to rent houses and apartments, or a bedroom, to visitors across the world. He said officials in New York, San Francisco and Miami also don't support Airbnb.

Why?

"Because it destroys neighborhoods, buildings, decreases real estate values and increases costs for workforce housing!!!!!" he wrote.

We decided to tackle two of Levine's attacks: that Airbnb decreases real estate values and increases costs for workforce housing. (By workforce housing, Levine was referring to homes for people who earn 60 to 120 percent of an area's median income.)

Several factors influence housing costs, even in areas with Airbnb and where rents are rising.

Jack McCabe, a South Florida real estate analyst, said it's premature to make broad claims about the impact of Airbnb.

"It's still too soon to really have data for a long enough period of time to make these types of assumptions or assertions," he said.

Some real estate experts said Airbnb is the latest scapegoat for the lack of available affordable rentals — a problem that predated the company.

Definitive, independent analysis about the impact of Airbnb is generally lacking.

Most of the research we found focused on one city, or ones that were already plagued by housing crunches.

For example, a San Francisco official said that "illegitimate rentals" took 1,900 long-term housing units off the market, but it isn't clear how many of those were affordable for people earning median incomes or less.

Levine sent us multiple articles about the impact of Airbnb on housing.

A 2015 study by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, an advocacy group for working families, concluded Airbnb was exacerbating the lack of affordable rental units in Los Angeles. The group also did a 2014 study that found rents were growing faster in Los Angeles neighborhoods with the highest Airbnb listing density.

Roy Samaan, the author of the studies, told PolitiFact that he couldn't definitively say that Airbnb was the cause of rents increasing. Several factors influence rental costs.

Since Airbnb doesn't make its booking information fully public, it's difficult to fully assess the impact.

Another piece of evidence Levine cited stemmed from a report commissioned by affordable-housing activists in New York City. It concluded that short-term rentals are reducing the vacancy rate, which causes increases in rental prices.

The study zeroed in on a subset of about 8,000 Airbnb listings in New York City and concluded if those units were put back on the regular market, the vacancy rate would rise from the current 3.4-3.6 percent to 4 percent.

Richard K. Green, a real estate professor at the University of Southern California, told PolitiFact those 8,000 units would be absorbed quickly in a rental market of more than 2.2 million units.

"I am skeptical that the local vacancy rates would move as much as the authors of the New York study would suggest," he said.

Now Airbnb argued through its own packet of articles and studies that its listings don't hurt real estate values or supply.

A FiveThirtyEight analysis concluded that "Airbnb's impact is probably still small in most cities," although it could grow. The statistics-based news website used Airbnb booking and revenue data to examine how many units Airbnb could be taking off the rental market nationwide.

Stockton Williams, executive director of the Terwilliger Center for Housing at the Urban Land Institute, told FiveThirtyEight that the Airbnb units don't add up to much as a percentage of total rental units in big cities in the United States.

Other factors, such as the increasing demand for urban living, have played a much larger role in driving up prices in big cities, he said.

"There is a considerable amount of anecdotal evidence that they may be occurring in a relatively small number of individual neighborhoods and properties — and therefore quite real to affected residents and owners," Williams told us.

Murray Cox, owner of Inside Airbnb, a website that analyzes data about Airbnb listings, told Business Insider that Airbnb can't entirely be blamed for housing issues in cities that were already expensive.

Green, the real estate professor at the University of Southern California, said that focusing on Airbnb doesn't get to the heart of the matter — "that cities are making it more and more difficult to build housing."

We rate this claim Mostly False.

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com/florida.

Comments
Trump attacks second Kavanaugh accuser, saying she 'has nothing' and was 'totally inebriated'

Trump attacks second Kavanaugh accuser, saying she 'has nothing' and was 'totally inebriated'

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump on Tuesday attacked the second woman who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, dismissing her account because she was "totally inebriated and all messed up," and accused Democrats of pla...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Anti-Kavanaugh protesters confront Ted Cruz at dinner

Anti-Kavanaugh protesters confront Ted Cruz at dinner

Protesters who oppose Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court confronted Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife at dinner Monday night, heckling them at their table at a Washington restaurant until they left.As interest groups ...
Published: 09/25/18
You thought you knew these candidates? In House District 38, it's Tent Killer challenging Little Danny

You thought you knew these candidates? In House District 38, it's Tent Killer challenging Little Danny

Most everybody knew John David Hayes simply as “David’’ until 1982. The then-21-year-old skydiving enthusiast, however, made a bad landing on his 11th jump in Alberta, Canada, and soon everyone started calling him something else. "...
Published: 09/25/18
Hey kids, you really stink at this voting business

Hey kids, you really stink at this voting business

The public service announcement begins with an insult.This works on several levels for the audience of teenagers.It grabs their attention and makes them laugh. It also happens to be wickedly accurate, and it pretty much explains why Pasco Supervisor ...
Published: 09/25/18
Rod Rosenstein, who had been overseeing Russia probe, has offered to resign

Rod Rosenstein, who had been overseeing Russia probe, has offered to resign

WASHINGTON - Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein has told White House officials he is willing to resign in the wake of revelations he once suggested secretly recording the president, but it’s unclear if the resignation has been accepted, according...
Published: 09/24/18
Solar farm land price is $6.8 million, including $4.4 million to state Sen. Wilton Simpson

Solar farm land price is $6.8 million, including $4.4 million to state Sen. Wilton Simpson

Tampa Electric Co. has said its Mountain View Solar project near Dade City represented a $75 million investment in alternative energy. The investing began in earnest last week when the utility paid more than $6.8 million for 382 acres in the rural co...
Published: 09/24/18
US considers limit on green cards for immigrants on benefits

US considers limit on green cards for immigrants on benefits

SAN DIEGO — The Trump administration has proposed rules that could deny green cards to immigrants if they use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers and other forms of public assistance.Federal law already requires those seeking green cards t...
Published: 09/23/18
Christine Blasey Ford reaches deal to  testify at Kavanaugh hearing

Christine Blasey Ford reaches deal to testify at Kavanaugh hearing

The woman who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers has committed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, her lawyers said Sunday. The lawyers said some details — including whe...
Published: 09/23/18

AP source: Kavanaugh, Ford agree to testify on Thursday

WASHINGTON — Negotiators reached a tentative agreement Saturday for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hear testimony Thursday from Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault from decades ago, two...
Published: 09/22/18

Trump administration aims to sharply restrict new green cards for those on public aid

WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials announced Saturday that immigrants who legally use public benefits like food assistance and Section 8 housing vouchers could be denied green cards under new rules aimed at keeping out people the administrat...
Published: 09/22/18