Short-Term D.C. Rentals Boosting Home Prices, Study Shows

As short-term rentals have become a prevalent feature of the DC housing landscape, many have speculated about the impact on housing availability and affordability. A recently-published study attempts to quantify those impacts.

The study, by University of Maryland PhD candidate Frank Zou, concludes that Airbnb is responsible for an uptick of up to 2.2% in single-family home prices in DC. However, there is a noticeable correlation between the density of Airbnb listings in certain zip codes and the impact on single-family home prices within 1,000 feet. Density and impact were most dramatic in the 20005 zip code, where over 100 active Airbnb listings were counted within 1,000 feet of examined single-family houses, and home prices went up 12%.

Density of listings and impact of housing prices within a 1,000-foot radius, by zip code. Click to enlarge.

The 20036 zip code had a density of 87 Airbnb listings within 1,000 feet of the single-family homes studied, causing prices to increase by more than 10%. The 20009 zip code is not far behind, with a density of 79 Airbnb listings within 1,000 feet leading to a 9.5% price increase. Although the 20037 zip code had a density of nearly 66 listings within 1,000 feet and a corresponding price increase of almost 8 percent, we didn’t include it in our table because the study omits condominium and co-op price data from the analysis and multi-family is the most prevalent for-sale housing type in this zip code.

The study compares single-family home prices from March to November 2016 to prices from February to June 2017. Although several external factors could impact DC housing prices, some, like proximity to Metro stations, public schools, and historic landmarks, are accounted for by the study’s analysis methods.

Data was cross-referenced from Open DC property sales and appraisal data with aggregated Airbnb listings from data scraper Tom Slee, limiting the study period. The median home price for the properties in the sample was $630,000 for 2017; the actual citywide median was $544,000.

While this data and its conclusions are somewhat outdated, particularly as DC awaits implementation of its 2018 short-term rental regulatory law, it will be interesting to see whether and how these impacts are quantified in the future.