The Tremendous Impact of Airbnb in New York

Today, we released a study outlining the unprecedented gross economic impact of the Airbnb community across New York’s five boroughs. Conducted by HR&A Advisors, an economic consulting firm, the study found that Airbnb generated $1.15 billion in economic activity in New York last year, an increase of more than 80 percent since August 2012 to July 2013. The Airbnb community also supported more than 10,500 jobs in New York in one year alone.

According to the study, Airbnb guests spend more time and money in New York than traditional visitors, and the vast majority of Airbnb hosts are regular New Yorkers who use the money they earn to pay the bills in an expensive city.

Notably, the study also found that the Airbnb community generated $235 million in economic activity outside of Manhattan.

Airbnb hosts live in every corner of this city. In fact, more than 80 percent of Airbnb properties in New York are outside of traditional hotel districts, bringing dollars to neighborhoods that have not benefitted from tourism in the past. On average, each Airbnb guest spends $600 in the neighborhood where they stay. Neighborhoods like Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn are reaping the benefits of this dispersed tourism spending: last year, Bed-Stuy welcomed 40,000 guests who spent $30 million at local neighborhood businesses.

By creating more affordable and authentic travel experiences in New York, our community is growing the city’s economy through visitor spending. Last year alone, more than 760,000 visitors to New York stayed in Airbnb properties, up 84 percent from August 2012 to July 2013. And of those, more than 51,000 said they would not have stayed in the city without Airbnb.

But more importantly, Airbnb is making New York more affordable for more families. The typical host in New York earns about $650 per month sharing their space 5 nights — money that 72 percent depend on to pay their rent or mortgage each month.

The study also found that:

  • Airbnb hosts are regular New Yorkers who reside in every corner of this city. In fact, 90 percent of hosts rent their primary residence on Airbnb and 78 percent of Airbnb hosts are low-to-middle income.
  • When guests stay locally, their money stays locally too — in fact, 42 percent of guest spending happens in the neighborhood where they’re staying. Last year, $301 million of guest spending went directly to host households and $844 million of guest spending went to New York’s businesses.
  • Airbnb guests generally stay longer and spend more money than the typical hotel guest. The average Airbnb guest in New York stays nearly 2 nights more (5.8 nights total) and spends $290 more at local businesses ($1,060 total) than the typical hotel guest.

Today, dozens of Airbnb hosts will be sharing this study with state lawmakers in Albany and urging their elected representatives to support home sharing. We think it’s time for all of us to work together on some basic rules and we’re asking lawmakers to:

  • Create rules that allow New Yorkers share only the home in which they live. Current law prevents many people from sharing their home unless they are present. We need thoughtful laws that let New Yorkers share only the home in which they live, while preventing abuse.
  • Strengthen laws that prevent illegal hotels. We oppose large-scale illegal hotels. We need tougher policies for unlicensed hotel operators.
  • Help our community pay $65 million more in taxes. We want to collect and remit hotel and tourist taxes in New York on behalf of our hosts, but currently cannot do so. If New York changes the rules, we estimate that the City and State will receive an additional $65 million in tax revenue annually.
  • Fix the law to help New Yorkers who need it most. If your apartment is rent-regulated, you often can’t share your home, even if you are present. Home sharing is an economic lifeline for thousands of New Yorkers. These New Yorkers should be able to share their space as long as they do not earn more through home sharing than they pay in rent.

New York is one of the world’s most popular destinations. Our community is excited to work with policy makers, neighbors and community organizations to make the city a better place to live and visit.