Airbnb Earnings

The widespread use of Airbnb as an online home-sharing platform provides an interesting look into real-estate economics. Although access to raw data would open up a trove of relevant analysis, we'll have to make due with reports on selected data commissioned by the company itself

This latest report, conducted by former White House National Economic Advisor Gene Sperling, presents some compelling data on the impact of home sharing on middle-class income in 5 US cities: Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City and Boston.

Airbnb hosts in selected US cities

Source: Gene Sperling.

Airbnb host characteristics

The typical Airbnb hosts in these 5 cities are identified as "working families in the broad middle class". Most have household incomes at or below their cities' median incomes and in each city a minority of hosting households make $100,000 or more. By far most hosts (up to 90% in NY and SF) are renting out their own homes, sharing their homes up to an average of 86 nights per year (in Portland).

Impact of Airbnb earnings

Typical annual earnings from Airbnb home-sharing amount to roughly 15% a median household's income, in each of the 5 cities: from $6,860 in Portland to $13,000 in San Francisco. As the report calculates, compared with some expenses for an average American household these additional earnings could cover:

  • over 9 months of mortgage payments

  • almost two year's worth of a typical worker's contribution to employer-provided health insurance
  • an entire year's food budget
  • about 10 months of transportation costs

Median household income compared with typical Airbnb earnings

Source: Gene Sperling.

Reports Airbnb earnings helped them stay in their homes

Source: Gene Sperling.

Typical Airbnb earnings and amounts spent on primary expenses

Source: Gene Sperling.

Airbnb earnings put to work

In all 5 cities, a majority of hosts reported that their Airbnb earnings helped them afford to keep their homes - Los Angeles and New York stand out most in this respect. In these two cities, most of the earnings went towards paying for primary expenses - rent or mortgage and expenses like utility bills and groceries.

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