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How Do 'High-Occupancy' Airbnb Rentals Affect Seattle Rents?

Recently, a lot of people have been laying the blame for Seattle's lack of affordability at the feet of Amazon. The real answer is more likely that Amazon is just one of many factors that play a role, but there's another company playing a part whose name starts with A that's probably worth mentioning: Airbnb. Seattle Weekly has a story out this week on the local accommodations company that's been a boon for homeowners in cities such as Seattle. According to data from Inside Airbnb, roughly 40 percent of Seattle's Airbnb units are "high-frequency vacation rentals," which means they're occupied by guests at least 172 nights a year. That comes out to about 2,711 units around Seattle. 2,711 residences that are effectively off the table to renters and potential homeowners looking for a place to live. Broken down by neighborhood, it's 377 units in Downtown, 229 in Queen Anne and 164 units in Ballard. Maybe that doesn't sound like a lot, but given the inventory issues around town in affordable units, it adds up. Just like with the Amazon arguments, there's a lot of gray area in the theory, but it's a reminder that when discussing Seattle's housing issues, the issue goes beyond "A" company.
· Airbnb Is Soaring in Seattle. Is It Causing Rent to Do the Same? [SW]
· How Amazon Swallowed Seattle [Gawker]
· Inside Airbnb [IA]