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“Airbnb takes advantage of the slow pace of regulatory bodies”

Tribune. The success of Airbnb rests mainly on the financial and practical facilities that the platform offers to individuals to establish peer-to-peer transactions, independently. If the proliferation of the service has widened and diversified the offer of tourist accommodation, it involves risks that only an adapted regulation would limit.

Airbnb claims to belong to the sharing economy in order to enhance its contribution to the community by strengthening ties between individuals. But the reality is often different. Roommates are rare (13% in Paris, 22% in Lyon and 24% in Bordeaux); rather, it’s whole dwellings that are made available through brief virtual and face-to-face exchanges that the company tightly regulates in order to control the transactions from which it charges a substantial percentage.

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Clearly, tenants value sharing less than access to the offer, which Airbnb provides them effectively, with a guarantee of quality and service at a lower price than traditional hotels. On the host side, the activity is almost professional. The accommodation is available for rental for an average of 85 days per year in Paris, 81 days in Lyon and 111 days in Bordeaux, for an occupancy rate of 92, 54 and 74 days respectively. This represents a substantial building stock. Paris, with more than 60,000 homes, is the largest Airbnb market in the world. Six times less in size, the Lyonnais and Bordeaux stocks remain proportionally large.

“Testing” operation

Essentially satisfying a demand for temporary tenants, this economy benefits businesses, but the tourist influx also draws on public resources (parking spaces, means of transport, cultural and administrative infrastructure) often saturated in the city center, and unsuitable elsewhere. . Above all, the transfer of accommodation to the tourist market also reduces long-term supply and increases prices. In the American market, each time Airbnb's supply increases by 10%, rental market prices increase by 1% (“The Effect of Home-Sharing on House Prices and Rents: Evidence from Airbnb”, by Kyle Barron, Edward Kung and Davide Proserpio, March 2018). However, Airbnb's offer in Paris increased by 124% between May 2015 and November 2019 …

Recent efforts to regulate this market, by limiting the rental of the main residence to 120 days in major French cities, aim to control its growth. However, they do not reduce the concentration of seasonal rentals in tourist districts whose infrastructure is already saturated, nor do they prevent the transformation of residential buildings into places of frequent passage, the depreciation and associated disadvantages of which affect the immediate vicinity without the latter having any possible recourse.

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