Airbnb’s racism problem is much bigger than a few racist hosts.
David Robinson
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This whole story strikes me as a fundamental misdiagnosis of the housing problem in the Bay Area. Yes, there are some real estate investors buying up properties to do short-term Airbnb rentals in the area, because there is good money to be made there. But there are also real estate investors buying up properties to do long-term rentals, as there were long before Airbnb ever existed. When you rent an apartment in the city, there’s a good chance that whoever your landlord is might own multiple properties for rent. And even when it comes to properties that are not rented, as the real estate market has skyrocketed, most homes are sold to much richer people than could previously afford it, leaving many of the social classes who previously inhabited the city no choice but to go elsewhere.

The problem is fundamentally supply and demand. Virtually every other city in the world on a scale with San Francisco has grown vertically as a way of generating more real estate to meet the demand. But the laws there have curtailed new construction of taller buildings in the interest of maintaining the “character” of the city, causing a massive housing shortage which has driven the market to ridiculous levels. The existence or lack of existence of Airbnb has almost nothing to do with this problem. Yes, you could argue that it increases the demand for real estate in the area to some degree, but the demand was already sky high. The buildings were not. And that is the problem.

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