Airbnb Releases Anonymized Dataset on Thousands of Hosts
Airbnb recently released a massive dataset about its business in New York City. The data on thousands of hosts in the city includes statistics such as host earnings, the types of listings, and how often people rent out their homes. This is the latest action the company has taken to counter the image portrayed by the New York state attorney general, who has accused Airbnb of enabling illegal hotels. Airbnb has pushed back against that perception, pledging to be an “open and transparent” company that would work closely with cities to ensure it pays its fair share of taxes. The release of this data was part of an agreement with the attorney general.
The data covers November 2014 through Nov. 1, 2015, and seems to confirm the attorney general’s accusations. A small number of hosts renting out multiple listings took home a disproportionate amount of the total revenue. And while roughly 71 percent of hosts rented out their home for three months or less, there were still thousands of “whole units,” meaning an entire house or apartment, which were rented for six months or more during the past year.
Just looking at the month of November, the data shows that more than half the Airbnb rentals in New York City may have been illegal based on rent laws in the state. The data showed that of the 35,966 listings for New York City in November, 19,742, or about 55 percent, were for an entire apartment. Under state law it is illegal to rent out an entire apartment for less than 30 days, unless it is a one- or two-family home.
Airbnb claims that its typical New York host is just a regular person with a spare room in his or her apartment, trying to make ends meet. But more than 100 Airbnb hosts use the site to make six figures a year, according to the data. Specifically, 127 of them are earning between $100,001 and $350,000 a year from renting out entire homes on Airbnb. About 64 percent, or 38,000 hosts, earned less than $10,000 on their Airbnb listings during the sample period. The rest of the hosts are doing far more than making ends meet, however. According to the data, more than 10,000 hosts are earning between $10,001 and $50,000 a year on their rentals.