Single-Room Airbnb Listings Jump Amid Cost-of-Living Crisis

Single-room listings on Airbnb are skyrocketing as more people seek out additional income in the face of a cost-of-living crisis. Airbnb said it recorded a “disproportionate” 31 percent rise in single-room listings in the third quarter. 

Property listings rose across regions, according to the rental platform. 

“We have seen a lot of people being more interested than ever before in hosting to defray their cost of living,” Airbnb Chief Executive Brian Chesky said. 

Inflation continues to be high, as well as heating and gas bills, due to the Russian war in Ukraine. It has put households under fragile budgets. 

About 46 percent of Airbnb hosts said they use the extra money from renting out properties to pay for food and other items. One in 10 hosts said it helps them to avoid being evicted or having a home foreclosed. 

Airbnb remains controversial. Some popular tourist destinations blame the company for aggravating housing shortages. Landlords increasingly rent out their properties to vacationers rather than long-term tenants. 

Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk blamed rising interest rates for creating a shortage of new homes, adding it has also been tough for the industry to adapt to buyers increasingly looking for homes outside big cities.

Industry observers say some hosts are seeing a booking slowdown, especially in markets that have become overwhelmed by short-term rentals. But despite the host and traveler complaints, overall bookings continue to grow as the company enjoys a banner year.

Airbnb launched during the 2008 recession. It was originally positioned as an affordable alternative to hotels and as a way for a community of travelers to bond with locals. 

But as hosts expanded their investment properties and the company’s power grew, the public had to consider whether Airbnb was contributing to a housing crisis.

According to experts, complaints about pricing have bubbled up over the years. But the fee outcry reached a fever pitch in the spring of 2021, prompting the company to vow a review.

Even as the public complaints have swelled, the 14-year-old company reports it’s making more money than ever. In the third quarter of 2022, revenue swelled to $2.9 billion, and profits soared 46 percent to $1.2 billion.

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