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WSJ: ‘Bill Comes Due for Overextended Airbnb Hosts’

Tripp Mickle and Preetika Rana, reporting for The Wall Street Journal:

For years, Cheryl Dopp considered the ding on her phone from a new Airbnb Inc. booking to be the sound of what she called “magical money.” A property she rented out in Jersey City, N.J., on Airbnb could gross more than $8,000 a month, she said, double what long-term tenants would pay.

Now, Ms. Dopp associates the dings with cancellations and financial misery. The 54-year-old information-technology contractor said she had about $10,000 in bookings evaporate overnight in March. She has $22,000 in monthly expenses for a largely Airbnb portfolio, she said, that included another Jersey City home and a house in Miami.

Good apartments have always been hard to find — harder in some cities than others, of course — but Airbnb has consumed many rental markets. $8,000 in Airbnb rentals for a $4,000 apartment is great if you own the apartment, but devastating for local residents looking for, you know, a place to live. In a handful of years, Airbnb went from a service that let you make money from renting out a spare bedroom to a market dominated by speculators.

I don’t blame the speculators for getting while the getting was good. But now that the short-term rental market has completely vanished, I have absolutely zero sympathy for them, either.

(Apple News link for News+ subscribers.)

Tuesday, 28 April 2020