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Short-term rent services such as AirBnB are often criticized for eroding the communities by increasing rent prices for locals:

... as short-term letting transfers much-needed housing from the residential sector into the tourist economy, it [...] contributes to rising rent levels ...

While it makes sense that with less houses available for long-term rent, the rent price goes up, I would expect the effect of short-term rents to be insignificant, as most properties proposed on AirBnB are not available for long-term rents anyway.

Are there any studies which managed to quantify how big this effect really is?

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Yes an example of such study is this Sheppard, S., & Udell, A. (2016). Do Airbnb properties affect house prices. Williams College Department of Economics Working Papers, 3.

This is their conclusion:

We find that in New York City, the impacts appear to be that an increase in localized Airbnb availability is associated with an increase in property values. In our hedonic model estimates, a doubling of Airbnb listings is associated with increases of 6% to 11% in house values, ceteris paribus. Using a difference-in- difference approach produces an even larger estimated impact, suggesting that properties that are subject to the Airbnb treatment increase in value by about 31%. Rough calculations based on average property values, average Airbnb rentals, and an assumption that potential income streams will be fully capitalized produces an intermediate estimate of about 17.7%.

While our results might be taken as supporting critics of Airbnb who complain that the firm’s services act to increase house prices and diminish housing affordability, we want to stress that this conclusion may be unwarranted. A service that increases house prices (such as improved police protection, making better local schools available to residents, or providing more and better public parks) need not diminish community well-being. Public policies that reduce house prices in pursuit of housing affordability by diminishing the efficiency with which an owner can make use of his or her property are unlikely to be welfare-improving, in the same way as a city that creates “affordable” housing by encouraging more crime hardly seems desirable.

Evaluating the welfare consequences of Airbnb, and hence the appropriateness of any regulatory action to limit use of Airbnb services, requires deeper analysis than we have provided here and much deeper analysis than appears to have been undertaken to date.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice find! Unfortunately, the authors based their study on house values rather than rent prices. The former is directly affected by any additional income a property can produce, which is exactly what AirBnB does. It's a bit like claiming that installing solar panels on the roofs erodes communities, because those increase house values too. $\endgroup$ – Dmitry Grigoryev Jan 9 at 12:02
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    $\begingroup$ @DmitryGrigoryev but if you read the paper and conclusion as well the property prices determine the rent prices since if property price increases rent increases as well they even do some back of the envelope calculations about rents $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Jan 9 at 12:42
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, I just wanted to stress out what they say in the conclusion: services that increase house prices are not necessarily bad. Nobody is claiming that solar panels deprive local residents of housing, even if the same mechanism (property price increases -> rent increases) is at play. In other words, if AirBnB was solely "stealing" houses from long-term rent market, it would have led to increased rent prices without affecting the property prices much. $\endgroup$ – Dmitry Grigoryev Jan 9 at 14:01
  • $\begingroup$ @DmitryGrigoryev you are completely correct in saying that, I on purpose included the last paragraphs from conclusion precisely so you dong get impression that this means AirBnB is something bad, in fact I think most economists would say AirBnB is welfare improving (although I did not made official survey of economists opinion on that) $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Jan 9 at 16:29
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    $\begingroup$ The extra factor to consider here is that not only are more homes able to participate in the rental market, but they do so in a way that forces short- and long-term renters to compete on price. This study doesn't talk about "welfare" per se, but rather specifically "community well-being". The question of whether short- or long-term tenants are better overall for community health is one of significant policy importance and controversy. Anecdotally, there are many salient negative externalities that non-landlord homeowners suffer when surrounded by short-term tenants in a community. $\endgroup$ – heh Jan 9 at 16:57

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