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Don't Blame Airbnb for San Diego's Housing Crisis


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

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Home-sharing has benefited San Diego’s economy. A comprehensive economic study conducted by the National University System Institute for Policy Research found short-term vacation rentals infuse hundreds of millions of dollars into San Diego’s economy each year – benefiting all of us.

...That’s why I was disappointed to see Barbara Bry, a candidate for City Council, heap blame for San Diego’s longstanding housing shortage onto short-term vacation rentals, with no data to back up her claim. According to Bry, more than 6,000 properties in San Diego have been converted into “permanent mini-hotels,” removing them from the rental or purchase market completely, thereby contributing to San Diego’s longstanding housing shortage.

As far as I can tell, this is nothing more than a myth. According to the National University study, which pulled its data from online rental platforms, there are only 6,100 properties total being rented out on a short-term basis in the entire city of San Diego. That number includes not only part-time and permanent vacation rentals, but also renting out a room or guesthouse while the owner is present during the stay.

The study addressed the notion that investors are snapping up units to use as permanent short-term vacation rentals and found that this is not a wildly profitable enterprise. In fact, operating short-term vacation rentals on a full-time basis is not profitable in most cases, according to the study.