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March 20, 2020

Why Airbnb is making it harder for Miami locals to find a place to rent

For landlords in Miami, the secret to profits rests with renting to visitors, not locals.

That was the message of a recent seminar touting the profitability of Airbnb for property investors debating whether to rent their houses and condos to long-term tenants or overnight guests.

“You will get more money for your rental if you have it on Airbnb,” said real estate data guru Francisco Mago, founder of BNBVestor. “Regular rentals are overrated.” Launched in 2017, BNBVestor offers seminars and a monthly subscription to a database of home-sharing trends based on data scraped from Airbnb and long-term rental sites like Zillow.

This day, the audience of 20 gathered in Doral included property managers, real estate investors and even a stand-up comedian. Each coughed up the $99 seminar fee as a way into the Airbnb business.

And why wouldn’t they want in? Business is booming.

Data provided by Airbnb indicates the number of entire homes listed on the site for Miami-Dade has jumped 33 percent since 2017, up to around 13,500 today. In the current market, Miami landlords and property managers can make an average of around 40 percent more renting entire homes or apartments to tourists on Airbnb than renting to locals on annual leases, according to BNBVestor. In areas like South Miami and North Miami Airbnb yields up to 62 percent and 51 percent, respectively, more per month with rates around $140 a night.

The problem for locals: More houses, apartments and condos available on home-sharing platforms translates into fewer options for those who live here full time. As Miami-Dade faces a crisis in housing affordability with a 130,000-unit deficit, as many as 13,500 existing units in good condition sit unavailable to the people who need them.

Miami’s Biscayne Park Airbnb is the most popular in Florida and in the top 20 in the United States. BY CHARLES TRAINOR JR.

Mago said BNBVestor scrapes data from Airbnb and long-term rental sites such as and Airbnb disputes the numbers, saying many of the listings on its site belong to live-in owners who make their homes available on Airbnb only when they are out of town. Half of the entire homes rented on Airbnb are rented for less than 60 days out of the year, according to the company. Some entire home listings are guesthouses, RVs, or boats.

“We’re proud that home sharing and short-term rentals help thousands of everyday Miamians better afford to stay in their homes and live in an increasingly expensive region,” said Tom Martinelli, Airbnb’s Florida policy director. “We support measures to protect affordable housing and target bad actors here in Miami-Dade and across the United States.”

Evidence about Airbnb’s impact on the local rental market varies. In March 2017, the not-for-profit fact-checking website Politifact rated then-Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine’s comment that Airbnb “decreases real estate values and increases costs for workforce housing” as mostly false, saying the market hadn’t been around long enough to get an accurate picture. But a 2019 Miami Herald analysis of Airbnb data available through new third party sites and interviews with Airbnb entrepreneurs suggests an increasing number of investors are converting Miami rentals into residential hotel rooms, leaving locals with fewer rental units.

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