Spatial Penetration of Airbnb, Rent-Gap and Gentrification: A Comparative Study of Barcelona and Lisbon.

Nachatter Singh , Center for Demographic Studies

In the last decade, due to its relationship with gentrification, Airbnb and other short-term rental services have attracted urban researchers, economists, politicians and civil activists. With a very small investment, these services allow the transformation of residential apartments located in specific areas (such as business centres or main tourist attractions) into short-term rentals, which are then rented at a relatively higher price than the average monthly rent in the neighbourhood. It creates a rent-gap that eventually exclude long-term residents and gentrifies neighbourhoods. Using data extracted from the Airbnb website, census records, socio-economic surveys and open sources, this article 1) identifies areas with high Airbnb penetration in Barcelona and Lisbon, and analyses (with multiple linear regression models) the spatial, structural, demographic and cultural factors that facilitates it; 2) measures the amount of long-term rental houses lost to Airbnb and the rate of evacuations in the areas with high concentration of listings that lead to the Airbnb-induced gentrification of some specific neighbourhoods in both cities. Preliminary results show that Airbnb has penetrated more into residential areas in the city center and around tourist attraction, with a young, more educated and ethnically diverse population. It has created a rent-gap that contributes to the increasing number of evictions and intensifies the gentrification process in several neighbourhoods in both cities.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy