New research shows that a large segment of the local housing supply in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal is being eaten up by a small portion of commercial property owners, many of whom are renting their units out on short-term rental website AirBnB.
The report, published August 8 by The Urban Politics and Governance Lab (UPGo) at McGill University, analyzed AirBnB trends in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, Canada's three largest cities, and saw a 50% increase in short-term rentals from 2016 to 2017.
The research also shows that of the $430 million generated by AirBnB rentals in the three cities, revenue is highly concentrated among the most successful hosts. UPGo's research found that 10% of hosts earn 50% of Airbnb revenue.
While there are only 6,500 AirBnB listings in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, representing 8% of total active listings, they make up 34% of total revenue.
"We found two big things: the first is that there has been a very significant concentration of AirBnB activity - both in terms of what bookings are occuring and who is making money - among a very small set of hosts," said lead author David Wachsmuth. "What we found is that just 10% of hosts are accounting for a majority of the revenue (50%) that's being earned on AirBnB across the three cities. And that concentration is increasing."
However, according to a Huffington Post report, AirBnB has called the report baseless and argues that data was manipulated to support the researchers' thesis and misrepresent AirBnB hosts.
The McGill report shows that Airbnb has caused the removal of as many as 14,000 long-term rental units from the rental supply in downtown Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. While the Province of Quebec was the first to legalize short-term rentals, Toronto and Vancouver have acknowledged the impact of short-term rentals on the local real estate market and have implemented strict regulations, including the limitation of short-term rentals to principal residences.