Shared housing and short-term rentals are no new phenomenon, but their increased presence in major cities around the world has caused a lot of speculation over the localized impact on the housing market and home prices.

  • Multi-unit operators and full-time hosts make up 66 percent of Airbnb's revenue.
  • New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami have the largest share of full-time operators.
  • Mega-operators, or those operating three or more units, was the largest uptick from October 2014 to September 2015.

Shared housing and short-term rentals are no new phenomenon, but their increased presence in major cities around the world has caused a lot of speculation over the localized impact on the housing market and home prices.

And while the platform is advertised as a place to share and experience local culture, Airbnb is a breeding ground for much more. A recent analysis points to two growing trends: multiple-unit operators and full-time hosts.

Both of these groups of individuals are major contributors to Airbnb’s bottom line and may have a severe impact on the affordability and availability of homes for actual residents.

The report, “From Air Matresses to Unregulated Business: An Analysis of the Other Side of Airbnb,” looks at 14 major metros to dig deep into the real impact of the platform.

For the sake of the report, a full-time operator is one that rents out units 360 days or more each year and a multi-unit operator rents out two or more units.

The 14-city sample studied found that monthly revenue increased to $139 million in September 2015 from $93.2 million in October 2014. During that same period, operators who hosted two units on Airbnb saw revenue increase 102 percent from $13 million to $26.7 million.

But it’s the revenue pulled in from mega-operators that is the most impressive.

Those renting out three or more units increased in volume by 66 percent between October 2014 and September 2015, 4 percent higher than the volume of hosts renting out two units.

Multi-unit and full-time hosts key to Airbnb success

Multi-unit operators and full-time operators together make up 66 percent of Airbnb’s annual revenue. Hosts who have more than two units account for 40 of the revenue in the 14 areas studied, which accounts for $500 million of the $1.3 billion that Airbnb brings in each year.

There are currently 2,772 full-time operators, with the largest presence on the coasts in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco.


Miami had the largest share of multi-unit hosts, making up 30 percent of its total number of operators and contributing to more than 62 percent of Airbnb revenue in the city.

Airbnb in major cities


Los Angeles and New York are among the cities with the most full-time operators. In Los Angeles, 98 percent of Airbnb’s revenue comes from operators who list for more than 30 days each year.

More than 30 percent of its revenue comes from operators who list properties for more than 360 days a year.

Venice, Venice Beach and Oakwood bring in a total of $32,857,565 in revenue. Total revenue from the five most popular ZIP codes during the October 2014 to September 2015 period was $83,730,471.

Miami saw 62 percent of its revenue come from hosts who listed multiple units for rent, and 76 percent from operators who listed for more than 180 days per year.


In Chicago, there were a total of 4,321 hosts, with the largest share of them being one-unit hosts. The city had a revenue of $49,448,299 from all operators. There were 111 full-time operators, and 87 of them were variable operators — meaning that they rent a number of units 360 or more days a year.

Full-time operators brought in 23.8 percent of revenue, and 58 percent of Chicago-area revenue was brought in by operators who list for more than 180 days each year.

Lakeview and Boystown had the most properties and hosts, but the Magnificent Mile/Streeterville brought in the most revenue at $4,622,857.


The nation’s capital also has a big share of full-time operators, and the tech capital of the nation has nearly 10,000 hosts bringing in more than $183 million. In Washington, 28.6 percent of its hosts are full-time operators.

This study was primarily funded by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation. Additional funds provided by the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Penn State University received no funding for the study.

Email Kimberly Manning

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