Most recent Airbnb data for the Dublin region

I have written in the last while about Airbnb in Dublin and earlier this year in New Orleans at the AAG, I was excited to hear about the work done on Short Term Rentals (STRs) by David Wachsmuth and his team at McGill. Remembering some of David’s tweets that landed earlier in January, I have decided to concentrate on the most recent AirBNB data for Dublin (May 2018) and think about distance from the city centre.

STRs in New York City are also an increasingly small share of the entire metropolitan region; in other words, Airbnb growth is happening further and further away from the center.


— David Wachsmuth (@dwachsmuth) January 30, 2018

Check out David’s neat work over here. While I do not yet have access to the tool (or frankly the knowhow) to replicate the work of his team in Dublin, what I am presenting here is a very simple three year overview of what geospatial people call a point in polygon analysis. Basically, I have taken regular electoral divisions and thrown them over the point data in a second layer and asked QGIS to count the number of Airbnb points per electoral division (ED). The small areas are too small for a meaningful analysis at this level. A crude enough method but a simple way to aggregate point data, particularly when the source of the scraped data (Airbnb) locationally disperses multiple bed occupancy units and offsets actual latitude/longitude coordinates by as much as 150m.

This first map shows the number of rentals in the 2016 data but only using those EDs that are above that year’s annual average rentals per ED. That is around and about 15.7 per ED for 2016.

This map shows that the number of STRs is most heavily concentrated in a small number of areas, both north and south of the river Liffey. The north and south docklands areas are particularly heavily populated by STRs as are the Stoneybatter and Inchicore areas of the city. Further north, in Fingal we smaller concentrations of STRs in the area south  and east of Swords but with the proximity of the airport we should not be too surprised. This area also has heavy concentrations of apartments.

The second map here shows the same data for the scraped 2017 data, again only those STRs with above zero days availability – so it is a smaller number than is visible on the InsideAirBnb website.

The pattern is much the same as in 2016 with increasing numbers of individual STRs in the usual areas. However, we can see a number of new EDs and their neighbourhoods with increasing numbers of STRs in these data. Particularly, compare the areas to the north and west of Phoenix Park, near Blanchardstown and Castleknock. More and more home owners are cottoning on to the fact that they can rent or room or whole property on Airbnb and sites like it for a lot more per week than regular rentals. This impacts upon available rental properties for the rest of us, not just tourists. This is a significant problem in Dublin as elsewhere and is a contributory factor in the ongoing and entrenched rental crisis.

The third map here shows the 2018 data, where the number of STRs in the Airbnb system in the region has topped out. Again, these are the areas above the regional average for the number of points per polygon, about 18 in 2018. These EDs are of course of various sizes and there’s some more work to be done on the density of these STRs per ED.

We see more areas with joining in the higher brackets and with a greater spatial distribution across the Dublin region, including more in Dun Laoghaire, Fingal and in the south near Glencullen. Interestingly though, the number of STRs in the north docklands has halved in number in a little under a year. What accounts for this?

Finally, this is the most recent data for May 2018, merely represented as points. They are banded by the asking price per night in this last map. There is a lot more work to be done on this but again I have neither the time or energy to analyse these and other rental (STR or not) data in more detail right now. However, there are no solutions to the rental and broader crisis in housing without a thorough regulation and possible prohibition of the STR platforms across the city. The taxi trade has successfully lobbied to keep Uber and others out of Ireland. What kind of politics does it take to disentangle property relations as embedded as these are from the need to provide adequate and secure rental housing for people?

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