Airbnb draining 6,500 homes from Toronto housing market, group says in new report

January 10, 2019

A new report suggests 6,500 homes could be added to Toronto's housing market if the home-sharing platform Airbnb were to comply with proposed city rules on short-term rentals.

Those rules are under appeal, and currently, the city cannot enforce the rules until the appeal at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal is heard. City council passed the rules in December 2017. 

Fairbnb, a national coalition of about 15 organizations calling for fair regulations for short-term rentals, released the report at city hall on Wednesday.

The report says if the rules were to be enforced today, Airbnb would have to remove about 8,241 properties from its website because they are not in compliance with the regulations.

Rules could boost vacancy rate, group says

Fairbnb says removing those properties could place those homes back on the the city's long-term housing market.

"Given that Toronto suffers from one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country (currently 1.1%), returning even a fraction of these homes to the city's housing market would make a difference to thousands of families seeking permanent homes in Toronto," the report reads.

Thorben Wieditz, a researcher for Fairbnb, said the coalition released the report to give Toronto's relatively new city council an update on the Airbnb situation.

"There is really no reason for them not to comply," he told reporters.

Wieditz said the 8,241 properties listed on Airbnb include private rooms in addition to entire homes. About 65 per cent of all listings on Airbnb in Toronto are for entire homes, he added.


The data used in the report came from Inside Airbnb, a project based in New York City run by data analyst Murray Cox, who makes Airbnb listing data publicly available for a number of cities. Inside Airbnb calls itself an "independent, non-commercial, open source data tool."

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