Airbnb’s Impact on Boston’s Tourism and Real Estate Market

Airbnb, the popular online service that allows users to find and publicize housing for short-term renting, has made large claims in the real estate industry. With growing numbers every year of both hosts and guests, the San Francisco based company creates a large presence in major cities like Boston. Unfortunately, debate continues to circulate on the taxation of such a service as either personal, commercial, or business use.

A couple months ago, The Boston Globe discussed this idea of a taxation and Airbnb. Charlie Baker, Massachusetts Governor, proposed that Airbnb users renting out private rooms for more long-term stays (five months or longer) would be forced to collect hotel taxes.


The company saw a surge of 58% for hosts who list two or more entire homes and 40% growth for hosts with one home listed.


The conversation surrounding the integration of this 21st century-unique renting system continues today as more people see the benefits of using Airbnb. According to Inside Airbnb, data from the end of 2016 shows Boston has 3,585 listings available, a majority (59.3%) of which are entire homes/apartments. 50.7% of Airbnb hosts have more than one listing and 67.3% of the listings have high availability.


Understanding and analyzing the statistics of these Boston Airbnb numbers sheds more light on how this company is changing residential housing in the city. With an increasing number of listings within the city, these locations could possibly be occupying space that locals could live in, encouraging the amount of tourism. High percentages of multiple listings under one host and high availability present a situation that could introduce spaces that are illegal and absent of owners, considering the space is usually open for rent.


Airbnb states that they will continue to work with the city and state governments of major cities to compromise on a form of regulation to these rentals. San Francisco, for example, banned mult-listing hosts as a requirement under the service. The company aims to encourage tourism while also maintaining the genuine qualities of neighborhoods and cities.
Massachusetts House of Rep., Aaron Michlewitz, leads an effort to bring legislation for short-term rental, proposing a requirement that short-term rental residences are owner-occupied. Furthermore, Michlewitz’s bill would introduce separate taxation dependent on personal, commercial, or business hosts.


Photo by Alper Çuğun under CC BY 2.0


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