“Commercial” hosts raking in big share of Toronto Airbnb revenue

September 22, 2016

TORONTO – It’s supposed to be a “home sharing” platform, but a small percentage of hosts account for just under half of all Toronto Airbnb revenue, according to estimates in a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Ontario office (CCPA-Ontario). 

The report finds that a small percentage of hosts — 13 per cent — post more than one listing on the platform but they represent 37 per cent of Toronto’s Airbnb’s total listings and they made up 46 per cent of Toronto’s total estimated Airbnb revenue in July 2016.

The report also finds that almost two thirds of Airbnb listings in Toronto are for entire homes — houses, apartments, or condos — accounting for 64 per cent of all listings, compared to 33 per cent of listings that are private rooms and three per cent of listings that are shared rooms.

“For a company that bills itself as an opportunity to share your home for extra cash, a large proportion of listings are posted by a small group of hosts who list multiple properties,” says CCPA-Ontario Director Trish Hennessy, who co-authored the report with Economist Zohra Jamasi. 

“The high concentration of revenue in the hands of a small percentage of multiple listing hosts suggest they may using the Airbnb platform for commercial purposes to set up a short-term rental business without being subject to regulatory oversight.”

Among the report’s findings for Toronto Airbnb listings in 2016:

  • Airbnb listings have grown astronomically since 2013: by 288 per cent. In July 2016, there were 10,156 Airbnb listings in Toronto — 81% per cent higher than Airbnb listings in Vancouver, which hosted a total of 5,611 listings in July of 2016.
  • Airbnb listings in Toronto are highly concentrated in these three areas: the waterfront, Liberty Village area, and the Church-Yonge corridor. Taken together, these three areas represent 26 per cent — just over a quarter — of all Airbnb activity in Toronto but they account for 46 per cent of total Airbnb revenue in Toronto.
  • In July 2016, there were 1,676 Airbnb listings in Toronto’s waterfront community — the hottest Airbnb zone in Toronto — and 83 per cent of these listings were for entire homes (houses, condos or apartments). Among those waterfront listings, 35 per cent belonged to hosts who are renting out more than one property. 

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For more information please contact: Trish Hennessy 416-525-4927 or trish@policyalternatives.ca. Download the report, Nobody’s Business: Airbnb in Toronto at policyalternatives.ca/ontario

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