COVID-19 has placed enormous pressure on just about every aspect of the economy. With thousands of planes grounded, scores of restaurants shuttered, and few people seeking overnight accommodations, the travel and tourism industry is at a standstill.
In recent days, some have suggested that Airbnb hosts are deactivating their listings and choosing to list them for rent for longer periods on other platforms.
Third-party real estate economists have rebutted these claims, but we have received several questions about this matter, so we wanted to address it directly.
Our analysis indicates that these claims are inaccurate:
- Today, there are more listings on the Airbnb platform than there were a year ago.
- In large cities popular with tourists, such as Las Vegas, Montreal, Rome and Paris, the number of active Airbnb listings have increased over the last 30 days.
- Among the top-20 U.S. and Canada cities, 80 percent saw a net change of fewer than 200 listings over the last 30 days.
- There has not been any meaningful change to Airbnb’s supply in our top-20 U.S. and Canada cities or in our top-10 European cities.
We are at an unprecedented moment globally. Unemployment and lost income are rising quickly, leading to a decrease in demand for traditional, 12-month home and apartment leases. In recent weeks, web traffic to web portals has dropped as much as 40 percent, meanwhile U.S. searches for “rental” and “lease” are down 42 and 33 percentage points, respectively, in the last month, according to Google Trends.
On the other hand, we have seen an increase in need for interim-length stays, in just the last two weeks, the number of guests booking longer-term stays* within their same cities nearly doubled. And hosts are ready to meet this need: 80 percent of Airbnb hosts now accept longer term stays and about half of Airbnb’s active listings now provide discounts for stays of one month or longer.
Put simply, changes in the housing market amidst the COVID-19 pandemic are the result of forces much greater and larger than Airbnb’s community of hosts and the spaces they share.
Airbnb was founded in 2008, amidst the Great Recession, when two of our co-founders couldn’t make their rent in San Francisco and opened up their living room to guests visiting the city. In the time since, Airbnb hosts have welcomed hundreds of millions of guests in more than 100,000 cities around the world. We are proud of the economic lifeline our platform has created for millions around the globe – more than 50 percent of Airbnb’s hosts in the United States rely on the money they make to pay their bills and afford their rent or mortgage – and we will continue to support our host community to protect this vital source of supplemental income.
*Defined as stays booked for 28 days or more