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Are Investors Using AirBnB Adding to the Housing Crisis?

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who is pushing for regulations, and several groups in and around Boston, who think the mayor’s plan isn’t enough, think so. While the idea of AirBnB is that young professionals and others who want to travel could find a cheap place in another country and rent out their home to a similar globetrotter through the app in a win-win situation.

According to Commonwealth Magazine in a piece titled “The AirBnB Gold Rush is On,”

that quaint notion, though, has gone awry as big investors have muscled their way into the market, buying up individual units and even entire buildings in all of Boston’s neighborhoods and using Airbnb as a booking agent to create ersatz hotels in the middle of residential streets. The rentals each bring in hundreds of dollars a night to the “hosts,” while taking long-term housing off the rolls and in some cases pushing existing tenants out into an ever-tightening market for affordable housing.

ADCO, the Alliance of Downtown Civic Organizations, who want stiffer regulations than the Mayor is proposing, 

notes that 60% of Boston’s entire home/apartment listings are investor units, 70% in the downtown neighborhoods. Several studies have shown this will lead to long-term resident displacement and rent increases.

In Boston’s downtown/ADCO footprint, only 2% of owner/listers account for almost 40% of the whole apartment AirBnB inventory.

What do you think? Do you agree that this is a problem? Are you concerned that Newton may be next? Would you like to see them regulated? Do you want to see a ban of investor units like Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Nashville have?