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Short-term consequences: Investigating the extent, nature and rental housing implications of Airbnb listings in Vancouver

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Airbnb is a private corporation founded in 2008 that earns revenue by facilitating short-term rentals of residential property. Using listing data collected from Airbnb’s website with a web-scraping script over a 12-month period and secondary data on the city’s rental housing stock and housing policies, this study quantifies the extent and nature of Airbnb listings in the City of Vancouver and analyzes the implications of that information for the city’s rental housing policy goals. Among the author’s findings are that Airbnb listings grew by 63 percent over the study period, were composed mainly of entire-unit listings and were concentrated in the areas with the most long-term rental housing. The author concludes that the unregulated growth of Airbnb undermines the city’s ability to achieve its housing goals. This study will be of interest to policy-makers in cities that, like Vancouver, are both appealing to tourists and facing shortages of affordable housing.
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