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Concrete jungle where rules are made
Whether they’re renting out an empty pad while away to make some extra cash, or hosting travelers as a full-time job, thousands of New York City Airbnb owners’ lives have become a lot more complicated thanks to a new government crackdown on short-term rentals that came into effect on Tuesday.
Under the new regulations — alongside other longstanding, often-ignored legislation — rental hosts now have to register with the city government, leave all doors within the property unlocked, limit their stays to 2 guests for short-term rentals… and hosts must be present for any bookings under 30 days, giving renters a likely-unwanted roommate.
While the new rules apply across rentals, they’ve undoubtedly hit Airbnb and the thousands of New Yorkers who host on the platform hardest. Data from InsideAirbnb (via Gothamist) reveals that some 15,000 short-term listings have disappeared from the site in a matter of days — with many reclassifying as “long-term” listings overnight. There are also reports of many Airbnb hosts taking their potential bookings “off-platform”, negotiating privately with their would-be guests instead.
For Airbnb as a business, the effects are likely to be pretty negligible. One lawsuit claims the company made $85m from NYC last year — a princely sum, but only roughly 1% of its $8.5bn total. Indeed, investors seem unbothered too — Airbnb shares are up 9.7% in the last 5 days, as the company looks set to join the S&P 500 Index.
The great wobble
The world’s second-largest economy continues to limp along, as China reported this week that both its imports and exports fell in August. The country, often hailed as the “factory of the world”, reported that exports were down 8.8% year-on-year, the fourth consecutive month of decline.
The news adds to the uneasy feeling that China’s economy is wobbling. Growth has slowed to an anemic quarterly figure of +0.8%, consumer demand remains tepid, factory activity has recorded 5 consecutive months of contraction, the country’s property market is in a slump, and youth unemployment has surged to such alarming levels that the government has ceased reporting the figures. Some analysts are even suggesting that China’s economy may never eclipse that of the United States — a changing of the guard that seemed inevitable just a few years ago.
Made in Mexico
Meanwhile, talking about changes of the guard, China’s malaise has come at the benefit of the US’s southern neighbor. Indeed, Mexico, like its popular pilsner Modelo Especial, has become America’s preferred choice, accounting for 16% of US imports over the past 3 months, up from ~12% a decade ago.
The silver lining for the Chinese economy is its burgeoning electric vehicle industry — car exports have surged by over 100% during the January to August period, largely thanks to the rapid growth of BYD.
The US is on course to complete construction on over 460,000 new apartment units in 2023 — the highest figure on record according to estimates from industry experts at RentCafe — with 33,000 new apartments in the New York Metro area alone.
The building boom has seen over 1.2 million new units delivered in the last 3 years, with the gap between single-family home and apartment construction opening to its widest point in almost 50 years.
Some are celebrating the news, hoping that the flood of new apartments will translate into cheaper rent and lower house prices. Others are less optimistic, noting that — even as apartment construction hits multi-decade highs — the amount of units that lower-income groups can actually afford has been sliding the other way. Indeed, RentCafe’s report classified 89% of the new apartments as “high-end” properties targeted at upper-middle- and high-income earners. Think more “boutique Airbnb” and less “affordable starter apartment”.
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Off the charts: Views for whose wiki page spiked massively exactly a year ago today? [Answer below].