Zillow panel: home sharing not hurting housing supply, affordability

Zillow’s panel of housing experts concludes in their latest survey that Airbnb and similar platforms are not cutting into “the overall supply or affordability of rental housing in a meaningful and large way…. though some smaller effects may be felt in certain markets or segments.”

“Just 5.1 percent of housing experts with an opinion said the ability to rent entire homes for short periods would have a meaningful, large impact on the supply and affordability of more traditional, longer-term rentals, according to the Q4 Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey (ZHPE),” the release says. “An even smaller share, just 3.9 percent, said the ability to rent smaller rooms within a larger home would have a meaningful and large impact on the overall rental market.”

It’s telling that on this panel, a nearly unanimous consensus of housing experts believe Airbnb is having no material impact on housing supply or affordability. Close to 50 percent of the 111 experts surveyed say there may be a small but immaterial impact. The remainder either found no material impact or were unsure.  

These views reflect experts’ understanding of the underlying causes of the housing affordability challenges many cities are facing. As a leading California editorial board has noted, outdated zoning laws, longstanding political opposition to new development, and layers of bureaucracy accumulated over years are combining to various degrees from city to city to create housing challenges, not 8-year-old Airbnb.

Airbnb is committed to working with cities to help them understand and address their housing affordability challenges. Today, we released our Policy Tool Chest outlining what has become, through our partnerships with hundreds of local governments, an emerging global framework for home sharing. The Tool Chest details how several cities, including Chicago and Los Angeles, are beginning to apply the new tax revenues generated by Airbnb to build more affordable housing and aid the homeless. On December 1, New Orleans passed landmark new rules for home sharing that also direct a portion of the new revenue to the construction of affordable housing.