By Matthew GagnonPublished May 17, 2018 12:37:31The Airbnb business model has grown so big in California that the company is now valued at more than $2.8 billion, with more than a quarter of all the rentals in the state, according to the San Francisco-based real estate website Trulia.
But, as the boom has spread, the rental market has been hit harder than anyone expected, with some properties struggling to fill listings as a result.
For some, the fallout has been more devastating than others.
“I have never been to a beach in my life, but it’s hard to imagine life without it,” said Amanda Matson, a single mom from San Francisco.
“I would have loved to have a beach house.
I can’t imagine my life without them.”
Airbnb says it has more than 400,000 properties in the Golden State, including more than 3,000 rentals in San Francisco alone.
But the company’s expansion is hurting the very places it says are the most affordable, and is causing renters to look for other ways to pay for lodging.
“There’s a lot of people who are trying to get around it by renting,” said Mark J. Kohn, an analyst at MoffettNathanson.
“It’s very difficult to find a place that is affordable without renting.
That is really the biggest challenge right now.”
The San Francisco Bay Area, where Airbnb has its headquarters, has seen its median price rise $10,000 in the past year, to $2,500, according the real estate data firm Zillow.
And in the city of Oakland, rents have shot up by $300 per month, according data from Trulia, to nearly $1,800.
The median price of a home in the Bay Area was $1.8 million last year.
It’s not just Airbnb’s success that’s hurting renters.
As the economy has recovered, many people have had to find new work, and even those with college degrees are finding it harder to find the right job.
“It’s hard for many of us to find jobs, and the lack of jobs is a huge burden,” said one person who requested anonymity to speak candidly about their predicament.
“We have all kinds of skills and skillsets that we want to bring to the table.”
A study by UC Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment found that about 40 percent of American workers who have jobs that pay at least $15 an hour are either employed part time or not looking for a new job at all.
A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank, found that nearly three-quarters of American adults are now living paycheck to paycheck.
“People are having a hard time finding work,” said J.R. Kopp, an associate professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley.
“They’re trying to find something to do while they’re trying.”
Some are finding ways to make ends meet.
A group of Bay Area residents recently moved into a house that was previously occupied by a single man and his wife.
But they were unable to afford to buy it out of fear of evictions, Kopp said.
The man, who declined to give his name, said he and his family had no money to buy the home and had been living paycheck-to-paycheck since December.
“There were days where we were really looking for ways to live,” he said.
“People were like, ‘Don’t you have a job?’
We had no idea.”
Some of the homes being bought by Bay Area renters are not as pricey as they were a few years ago.
An Airbnb listing in Redondo Beach on April 26 said the house had been sold for $2 million.
It was advertised for a house with a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, four-bath house on a lake in San Pedro.
The listing was for the 3,900-square-foot home with a basement, which was advertised as a two-bedroom house on the second floor with a large balcony.
The listing didn’t provide any other information about the property or the property owner.
A search of the Redondo beach property showed the property was sold in 2014 for $1 million.
The previous listing said the property had been owned by the same owner since 2011.
The buyer didn’t return a phone message seeking comment.
The owner, who lives in the San Jose, California, area, said Airbnb has helped ease the housing crisis and he’s excited to have found the right place for his family.
“The people that are renting are just looking for something different,” he told The Associated Press.
“For me, it’s a very different experience because you have to work a lot, and you don’t have any income.
So I’m looking for different things.”
Some Bay Area homeowners are also trying to mitigate the impact of the housing market downturn by