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Can't Find an Apartment in San Francisco? Airbnb Is at Least Partially to Blame

But then again, so is your dog. 

Airbnb listings across the city. 



Look at you. You've got everything. Stable job at the atom-smashing factory. A nice French bulldog to take to the park. A healthy relationship with your parents—even with your dad's new wife, Beth. Everything but an apartment to live in. Well, hypothetical person, there's a lot of things you should blame for that.

Airbnb is one of them.

Thanks to a report from San Francisco Budget Analyst Harvey "Rabble Rouser" Rose that was commissioned by District 9 Supervisor David Campos, we can back up that startup scapegoating with some capital-D data, bitches.

His findings: Somewhere between 925 and 1,960 rental units have been taken off the market in San Francisco to be reused as short-term hotel rooms for Germans, Swedes, and your step-mom Beth.

How'd Harvey the Hellraiser come up with those numbers? His office identified between 5,249 and 6,113 total Airbnb listings in San Francisco from November 2013 to February 2015, then figured out how many of those came from units that had been pulled off the rental market. That number accounted for between 11 and 23.2 percent of all vacant units. You know, the ones you desperately want to rent, especially in highly-desirable neighborhoods like the Haight-Ashbury, the Western Addition, the Inner Mission, Potrero Hil, South Beach, and Castro and Eureka Valleys.

Of course, a few thousand units aren't that much in the overall scheme of things. For example, the highly-controversial "Monster in the Mission" project at 16th and Mission would bring 351 units onto the market. So, all of the losses caused by Airbnb would be cancelled out if the city were to allow developers, you know, to build something—and not even that many somethings. All it would take is 6 ten-ish-story buildings to erase the Airbnb deficit. That's it! (Or one 60-story building. We don't care.) 

That being said, evictions are real and bad. The report doesn't give an estimate of how many evictions have occured because of Airbnb—the city doesn't track the data. But neighborhoods with higher use rates see higher evictions. The report does allow for a ballpark estimate, though: At most, hundreds of evictions—not tens or thousands, to make way for Beth.


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