Short-term rentals: Let’s see the data | Editorial | Fold | The Weekly Source

Over the past year, central Oregon, like many places in the United States, has seen its median home price skyrocket. As of November 2020, Bend’s median sale price for a single-family home was $538,500. In November 2021, it was $683,250. For anyone trying to buy a home or find a new rental, “sticker shock” is an understatement.

Although a host of factors can come into play, one thing is certain: it is becoming more and more difficult for a low-income worker to live here. While it’s also true that central Oregon has more jobs than it did before the pandemic — making the hiring process a challenge in this time of great resignation — the cost of housing certainly plays a role in all of this.

With that, it should come as no surprise to those with their heads in the sand that local governments would begin to examine the effect the so-called ‘cottage hotel’, the short-term rental industry, is having on the housing market. At a meeting earlier this month, Bend Councilman Anthony Broadman asked to couple the data the city has collected on its short-term rental program with a conversation exploring whether STRs are exacerbating the crisis. housing in the region. The reaction, among our readers and other members of the community, has been largely characterized by the response, “Of course it is!”

It is the knee-jerk reaction of those who have seen their neighbors’ homes become glorified hotels; who have seen longtime tenants evicted and a rotating cast of vacationers with no investment in their communities are coming instead. These anecdotal stories are as common in Bend as they are in places like San Francisco, a city that fought and eventually settled a lawsuit over Airbnb’s practice of allowing people to rent homes without them. register properly, as required by local ordinance.

Right now, you might be thinking, “So why does the City need to look at something so obvious?

On the one hand, data is important to accurately tell the story. In order to achieve a measurable goal, they must first have baseline data that allows them to measure ways to improve. The city council will receive the data the city has collected on its program over the next few months, then host a policy discussion on STRs at a business session in March. We support a data-driven approach to this. If short-term rentals are found to be contributing significantly to the housing crisis, Council must act to stem the tide.

Being methodical and avoiding acting on anecdotal information is fine; and yet, a lot of data has already been collected on this subject.

A 2017 study from the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California found that “a 10% increase in Airbnb listings results in a 0.42% increase in rents and a 0.42% increase in .76% of house prices.Additionally, we find that the Airbnb effect is weaker in zip codes with a higher share of homeownership, a result consistent with absentee homeowners removing their homes from the long-term rental market and list them on Airbnb.”

A 2019 article in “Housing Policy Debate” that examined the impact of STRs on house prices in Washington, D.C., found that, “In Washington, D.C. as a whole, Airbnb alone could explain an increase in single-family home prices from 0.66% to 2.24% In tourist hotspots, Airbnb has been responsible for real estate price increases of more than 5% Some neighborhoods with high Hispanic and African American populations experienced price inflation above 3% due to STRs.

Another 2021 study published in the Journal of Urban Economics, which studied the effect of regulations on the housing market, found that “ordinances reduced listings and housing prices by 2%. Additional estimates of differences-in-differences show that the orders also reduced rents by 2%.”

“Cities, especially the more popular ones, seem to fare the worst. by vacation rental platforms such as Airbnb had a negative impact on housing prices and communities,” describes a 2020 article in Forbes.

Bottom line: It’s good to see our local leaders addressing an important issue like this and using data to determine the effects. When this analysis is complete, however, we expect the results to reflect the breadth of research already done elsewhere on this topic.

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