From the Jody Kriss Blog: Study Shows Airbnb Still Hurting NYC

Jody Kriss and East River Partners often choose to restore buildings throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, simply because there is a huge need for housing in the area. With a bit of TLC from Jody Kriss and East River Partners, the older buildings can be brought back to life and modernized, so that they suit the needs of people today. A study that was just put out by the Housing Conservation Coordinators (HCC), a tenant advocacy group, as well as MFY Legal Services and BJH Advisors has just uncovered another reason why it’s so difficult for people to find decent housing in the prime boroughs- Airbnb.

HCC Says Airbnb is “Short Changing New York City”

The study, entitled “Short Changing New York City,” reveals that Manhattan and Brooklyn are the boroughs that have been hit the hardest by Airbnb’s short-term rentals. According to their research, about 60% of New York City’s housing is split between the two, but of Airbnb’s more than 51,000 rentals, in excess of 90% are within Manhattan or Brooklyn. The researchers went so far as to declutter the data and only look at “Impact Listings.” In order for a rental to be included in their data, it had to either be a rental of a full house (versus single rooms in a home), be commercial (fit criteria that suggested owners were using it as an income source), or be a regular rental (met frequent booking guidelines).

5 Neighborhoods are Taking the Brunt

Not only are Manhattan and Brooklyn being massively affected by the rentals, but five “macro-neighborhoods,” in particular, account for 53% of all New York City Airbnb listings.

  1. East Village/ Lower East Side
  2. Chelsea/ Hell’s Kitchen
  3. West Village/ Greenwich Village/ SoHo
  4. Williamsburg/ Greenpoint/ Bushwick
  5. Bed Stuy / Crown Heights

Airbnb Contributes to the “Housing Emergency”

When rental vacancy rates fall below 5%, the city considers it to be a housing emergency. Once it hits this point, people become displaced and face hardships. Right now, the vacancy rates are somewhere between 3.4% and 3.6% and they have been below 5% for decades. However, if just the high impact Airbnb listings were put on the market for actual residents to rent, it’s estimated that housing stock would increase by 1%.

To be clear, they aren’t talking about the average citizen who goes on vacation and rents out their home while they’re away, or the person who sublets a room, or even the people who occasionally sublet a room to someone on vacation. These stats are only related to the people who are using their homes to gain a regular income by doing short-term rentals. In the West Village/ Greenwich Village/ SoHo area, vacancy rates currently sit at 2.9%. Reintroducing just the impact listings in the area, back into the rental market, would bring the vacancy rate up to 5%. In the Chelsea/ Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods, it would climb from 4.2% to 5.7%.

For many, these statistics will be no surprise. It was uncovered back in 2014 that more than 70% of all NYC Airbnb listings were illegal. When Airbnb was finally willing to part with their data in 2015, they culled more than 1,500 listings beforehand. It’s clear there is no quick and easy answer for the city’s housing issues. However, Jody Kriss and East River Partners will continue working to revitalize neighborhoods and restore historic buildings, adding much-needed housing stock back into these hard-hit areas.