Richard Geoffrion is seen on hi street Thursday, September 8, 2016 in Montreal. Quebec is often held up as a model for other provinces to follow when it comes to regulating the growing home-sharing market, but doubts are being raised over whether recent provincial changes are having any impact. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Small group profiting from Airbnb rentals: study

MONTREAL — New research suggests a small number of large commercial property owners are the most successful on Airbnb and are eating up the local supply of housing in Canada’s three largest cities.

A team of urban planners from McGill University looked at Airbnb trends in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto and noted a 50 per cent increase in the number of short-term rental properties year over year.

Using figures from an analytics firm, lead author David Wachsmuth said his team found that 10 per cent of hosts account for nearly half of the $430 million yearly revenue in the three Canadian cities.

The study, which is entitled “Short-term Cities: Airbnb’s Impact on Canadian Housing Markets,” was published Tuesday.

Airbnb rejected the findings, saying in a statement they misrepresent the profile of home-sharing hosts. It added that 80 per cent of them share their homes three or four times a month.

The company said only a small fraction of homes in Toronto and Vancouver are rented often enough to outdo long-term rentals.

“The author of this study has a history of manipulating scraped data to misrepresent Airbnb hosts, the vast majority of whom are middle-class Canadian families sharing their homes to earn a bit of additional income to help pay the bills,” said Airbnb spokeswoman Lindsey Scully.

Wachsmuth said he doesn’t dispute the 80 per cent figure, but added it is misleading.

“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 occurring and who is making money — among a very small set of hosts,” he said in an interview.

“What we found is that just 10 per cent of hosts are accounting for a majority of the revenue (50 per cent) that’s being earned on Airbnb across the three cities. And that concentration is increasing.”

Those multi-listing hosts include some people with multiple rental properties and, in some cases, larger commercial property management firms.

The study suggests the number of entire homes available, full-time listings, and hosts with multiple listings are all on the rise.

“What ties them together in common is these are not families renting homes while they’re out of town … these are people using Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms as a platform for making money off housing and doing so in a way that’s reducing the available supply of housing in those cities,” he said.

Wachsmuth suggested a few remedies, including limiting hosts to one rental property and putting an end to full-time rental homes by capping the number of nights they are available per year.

Lastly, Wachsmuth said he would like to see Airbnb and similar platforms enforce these changes by rejigging their websites.

For its part, Airbnb said it has worked with the Canadian cities in question to share data and information about its users.

Just Posted

Exclusive Video: Joshua Frank explains shooting Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus

Frank and Jason Klaus are facing triple murder charges in the deaths Klaus’ parents and sister

Medicinal marijuana referral clinic to open in Red Deer this month

Local Compass Cannabis Clinic to open by Nov. 30

Proposed trails for Riverside Meadows could provide “natural surveillance”

A proposal to add trails to Riverside Meadows has some residents hoping… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Bower Place aims to demolish Target, redevelop east side of mall

A major design of Bower Place could see the now-vacant Target demolished… Continue reading

Nutrition program continues to fuel students

Red Deer school expands program

Liberals propose billions for affordable housing, including individual benefits

A Liberal government fond of promising help for those working hard to… Continue reading

Alberta Party sees growth in Central Alberta

Greg Clark addressed health care needs addressed in Red Deer

Ponoka council freezes Ponoka Fire Department spending

All discretionary spending frozen until full budget numbers are presented

WATCH: Ponoka’s Festival of Trees sees continued support

Three days of celebration and fundraising held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

Update: Innisfail girl found

A 15-year-old missing Innisfail girl has been located safe and sound. Police… Continue reading

Cost to fix Phoenix pay system to surpass $540 million, auditor general says

The federal government’s chronic salary struggles will take more time and more… Continue reading

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month