Wall Street and Markets


Airbnb hosts immune to market deflation too

Super Bowl 50 provides economic stimulus to the local real estate market, while the world languishes

Innovation series by Ronny Kerr
January 29, 2016
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Despite an unraveling economy and predictions of a 2016 recession in the offing, one area remains resilient, if not supercharged: Super Bowl madness rental rates.

Thanks to Super Bowl 50, slated for Sunday, February 7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, everyday homeowners and renters are finding that they can hike up prices for short-term rentals to capitalize on the influx of football fans flooding the Bay Area.

Among over 300 available listings, rental prices on Airbnb are averaging $363 per night during Super Bowl weekend, a 76.2 percent increase over the average $206 listing on Airbnb for the weekend following.

Meanwhile, even though the global financial markets seemed to have held steady this week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (at just above 16,000) is down 7.8 percent this year, while the Nasdaq (at just over 4,500) is down 10.0 percent this year.

Even worse, tech companies, particularly those heretofore-darlings-of-growth companies that went public in recent years, are leading the slide, per Steve Loeb’s stories on the hit to recent tech IPOs as well as Twitter’s downgraded stock.

Twitter (riding the downward spiral) lost 10.0 percent to $16.50 in the past week alone. For the year, it’s down 28.7 percent. Apple lost 4.6 percent to $94.09 this week, and for the year it’s down 10.6 percent. Alphabet (Google) steadied, gaining 0.7 percent to $748.30, though it’s still down 3.8 percent for the year. The only anomaly is Facebook, which gained 13.2 percent on the week to $109.11 (after a solid Q4 2015 earnings call on Thursday) after a rocky start to the year.

I bet you wish you bought real estate and started renting out your homes. Or if you’ve invested in some unicorns - Lyft, Uber, Airbnb - you’ll be okay: based on my analysis last week, it looks like they’ve been unscathed by the global financial slowdown.  

And if the Super Bowl rates are any guide, big events (like the upcoming conventions around this year’s presidential elections) are always a boost to Airbnb and their hosts.

If you can lay on it, we can rent it

The options, as to be expected from the Airbnb marketplace, are absurd no matter where you slide the pricing scale.

For as low as $30, for example, you can crash on a couch in Richmond or Redwood City or even have the chance for a real bed at the Coliving Club in Merced Heights.

High rollers have way more options, with Airbnb showing over a hundred listings at $1000 per night. These are mostly for entire homes or apartments and some are only listed for the Super Bowl, like one "gorgeous single family home" in Laurel Heights priced at $7000 for two nights.

Obviously, Airbnb hosts aren’t the only ones capitalizing on the need for space during the Super Bowl. Its main competitor in the home sharing space, HomeAway, also has a higher number of high-priced listings during the Super Bowl. Hotels too have inflated prices: $90 to $1699 per night during Super Bowl weekend as opposed to $55 to $1104 per night the following weekend (not counting the Payne Mansion Hotel in Lower Pacific Heights, listed for $18,000 per night—I guess it’s already reserved for the Super Bowl).

In other words, no matter the global financial chaos, it’s a great time to be renting real estate. Especially if your real estate happens to be near Super Bowl 50.

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