August snapshot of Dublin’s AirBNB

In July, I wrote about the possibility that AirBNB rentals were pricing residents out of specific areas. At that time, I argued that this may lead to some displacement of people who need a place to live more than they need their city to be an entrepreneurban paradise. The focus on that occasion was the publication of the 2016 preliminary data from the census. The data comes from an international project called InsideAirBNB whose visualisations are far nicer than mine. Since then there have been a small number of cases in court about planning permission and changing land uses in Temple Bar. Only yesterday, Phil Lawton put an article in front of me about Docklands owners imposing blanket bans on AirBNB rentals. It seems like there is some little resistance to the dominance of the model in specific parts of the city. This of course tends to revolve around that Irish canard, anti-social behaviour, rather than a thoroughgoing analysis of why the short-term, unlicensed ‘sharing economy’ sucks the life out of communities.

The August snaphot of the InsideAirBNB data came to my attention last night. This is a short post about these data. Again, I am concentrating on the shorter listings database containing some pricing and availability data. It is for the Dublin city area only and I haven’t compared the January snapshot with this new dataset. Furthermore, there are locational inaccuracies in the point based data because AirBNB anonymises the data on their site; multiple listings for the same unit are clustered around a point, not on it. There are 4,931 listings for Dublin city in August 2016. This is far in excess of the of the 3,116 listings recorded in January but you might expect a summer premium to account for this 58% increase in such a short period. The mean price for these listings is €102 but with wide variation. In this first map I show this variability for Temple Bar, classifying the data into three groups, €20 either side of the mean price. 2,911 of the listings are priced between €10 and €122 while a further 742 listings are priced €20 either side of the mean. Just under 1,300 listings are priced between €122 and €1500.

tb-areaWithin Temple Bar, there are large clusters of more expensive listings around Essex Street. A line of expensive listings lies also along Fleet Street. Looking at the docklands area using the same measure, no distinct pattern emerges on first sight. However, east of the loop line bridge there are a larger number of more expensive listings than in Temple Bar. Again, there is a distinct geography to these expensive listings which requires more detailed analysis.


Finally, I want to return to the issue of availability. The listings include data on how available the bed/flat/couch is across the year. Using the field calculator, I was able to create a new attribute based on these data. There are 934 listings in Dublin city that are denominated 90% available across the year, or 328 days or more per year. This includes listings with multiple occupancy so the data are not as dramatic as the high number would suggest. In the map below, I show the distribution of the 90%+ listings across the city area.

city area.jpg

After the Rebuilding Ireland initiative and after the Minister for Housing met with ‘stakeholders’ groups only yesterday, some questions remain. Among these are: can Dublin City Council produce a licensing system that will more effectively regulate this spread of long term AirBNB rentals? This has happened in Barcelona and elsewhere, a matter of political deliberation, not some neutral policy-making technocratic process. Secondly, what kind of a city allows a 58% seasonal increase in AirBNB rentals when there are rising numbers of people still awaiting adequate housing and the rental system remains in chaos? Thirdly, when will workers in AirBNB be priced out of the rental market (such as it is) to an extent that AirBNB management start lobbying Coveney for reforms to the rental process?

The data are also available as an interactive map here.

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2 thoughts on “August snapshot of Dublin’s AirBNB

    1. APIs are beyond my paygrade right now. You’re right of course and there is a link at the bottom of the post to an interactive map on qgis online.

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