Airbnb creates an affordable-housing dilemma for cities

Supporters of home-sharing services recently gathered outside Sam Francisco City Hall. /Flickr/Kevin Krejci
Supporters of home-sharing services recently gathered outside Sam Francisco City Hall. /Flickr/Kevin Krejci

Cities are experimenting with ways to meet the goals of affordable housing while still reaping the benefits of the sharing economy

By Frank Shafroth | Governing

Home-sharing services like Airbnb are creating an awkward dilemma for cities and counties, especially in areas where housing costs are high. Municipalities are struggling to balance the economic boost from the growth of home-sharing services with the pressing need for affordable housing.

Before we go any further, let’s put the considerable growth of such services into perspective. One study found that 400,000 Airbnb guests who visited New York City in 2012 and 2013 spent $632 million, supporting 4,580 jobs. As compared to tourists staying in hotels, Airbnb guests tended to stay two days longer and spent nearly $200 more at local businesses during their visit.

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