Airbnb will grow 5x in Vancouver if legalized, CFP warns

By Lisa Tanh

Vancouver will go from 6,000 to 30,000 Airbnb units if the city legalizes the service impacting affordable rents for long-term housing says a certified financial planner.

Last Tuesday, the city hosted a public hearing on regulating short-term rentals in Vancouver. While several speakers defended Airbnb and the opportunities offered, David Chen[1], an independent certified financial planner, raised current and future issues such as business problems that will arise and affordable rents for long-term housing[2]

Chen says “new data suggests that a 10 per cent increase in Airbnb correlates to 0.39 per cent increase in rents and 0.69 per cent increase in property taxes.”

Using the 80/20 human psychology rule, Chen said “the city will go from having 6,000 to 30,000 Airbnb units if the service is legalized.”

“When we already have something illegal like Airbnb and 6,000 people have no problem crossing the line, we know that 20 per cent have no problem crossing it,” Chen said. “But 80 per cent would hold back. So the question is, if we legalize [Airbnb], would that 80 per cent cross the line?”

Chen said those numbers are “actually a low estimate.”

“That increase could be up to five folds of what you have now,” said Chen. “So that means, you’re going from 6,000 to 30,000 and the 30,000 actually makes sense because that’s their maximum rental stock.”

Following Chen’s speech, a new Twitter account called VISTRO[3] which stands for Vancouver’s Illegal Short Term Rental Operators was created to report illegal Airbnb rentals in the city. The City of Vancouver has responded to some of their tweets saying they have created a case ID for reported rentals.

Chen says he was “a little bit flattered” that the account was inspired by him.

“I consider myself kind of a nobody,” Chen said. “Just you know, fighting for the people in my community.”

[Photo Credit:]

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