Airbnb Driving Down Hotel Prices in LA

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Updated: The number of Airbnb listings in Los Angeles skyrocketed in 2015, according to a study from the LA Times that measured the number of listings on the short-term rental website between May and January of last year (not prices, as previously written). In that relatively short time frame, the number of rentals jumped 42 percent, with much larger increases in many areas (including several of the nine responsible for raking in most of Airbnb’s money in LA).

The good news for visitors to LA is that competition from short-term rental sites like Airbnb may be keeping hotel prices down in some of the most popular areas to stay. A separate study by CBRE Hotels found that hotel rates in areas with a large number of Airbnb rooms—like Santa Monica, Hollywood, and Marina Del Rey—increased at a much slower rate than prices in the area around LAX, where there are far fewer short-term rental rooms available.

Airbnb has come under fire as a means for landlords to operate rental properties as unregulated hotels. Yet another study (don’t worry, this will be the last one) from Pennsylvania State University’s School of Hospitality Management—but financed by the American Hotel & Lodging Association—found that almost a third of Airbnb’s revenue in 12 of the nation’s largest cities comes from hosts renting out units at least 360 days per year.

Previous reports have shown that Airbnb and other short-term rental services have been taking units off the LA rental market at an alarming rate, bringing in lucrative profits for owners but inflating costs for renters. In December, two Fairfax residents filed a lawsuit against their former landlord, who they say illegally evicted them in order to make room for Airbnb customers.

Fear of the effect of short-term rental sites on the market led Santa Monica to place tough restrictions on short-term rentals in May of last year. The LA City Council is also considering further regulation of these services.

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