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Airbnb Having No Impact on Alameda Rental Market

A city-funded study reports no impact on the local rental market from short-term rentals. (File photo)

A city-funded study reports no impact on the local rental market from short-term rentals. (File photo)

A rents study by BAE Urban Economics, presented to Alameda City Council at a raucous special meeting earlier this week, indicates that Airbnb-style short term rentals is not substantially impacting Alameda’s rental housing supply.

On Tuesday of this week, San Francisco voters defeated Proposition F, a local ballot measure that would restrict short-term rentals in that city.

Proponents of the measure have argued that the short-term rental industry removes from the market affordable housing for residents.

Alameda officials had asked BAE to report on any impacts in Alameda in a wider study of the local impacts of rising rents.

In its report, BAE wrote, “Airbnb does not have an impact on Alameda’s rental housing supply in any substantial way. Overall, information on Airbnb rentals indicates that few (if any) units in Alameda are used solely for short-term rental purposes. Data suggest that the number of units in Alameda that are rented through Airbnb is relatively modest, and that most of these units serve as households’ primary residences, with short-term rentals supplementing household income.”

BAE said that data provided by Airbnb suggests there are 100 active hosts in Alameda, representing roughly 0.3 percent of the city’s housing supply. The median number of nights that the corresponding properties were booked in the past year was 44.

Alameda tenants have organized to demand action from city hall in the form of rent control, a just cause eviction ordinance, and other measures, as rental increases have outpaced income increases.

According to BAE, from 2000 to 2013, median rent across all Alameda households have increased at an annual rate of 4 percent, while incomes have increased at an annual rate of 2 percent.

Graphing the BAE data, based on a base rent of $1,000 per month in 2000, consuming one-third of a tenants income of $36,364, indicates that tenant’s portion of gross income committed to rent has grown to 42 percent in 2013.

Rents in Alameda are consuming an increasing portion of incomes.

Rents in Alameda are consuming an increasing portion of incomes.

This table is based on BAE Urban Economics data and assumes a base rent in 2000 of $1,000 per month, consuming one-third of a tenant's income.

This table is based on BAE Urban Economics data and assumes a base rent in 2000 of $1,000 per month, consuming one-third of a tenant’s income.

BAE did not have comparable data on income and rents across all Alameda properties for the past two years, but reported that, in properties with more than 50 units – properties from which data services routinely collect data – rents have jumped 52 percent since 2011, or, on average, 13 percent per year.

Reconciling those figures against the four percent annual increase figures suggests that the median rent in Alameda has increased on the order of 18 percent to 19 percent in 2014 and 2015.

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