Barcelona: A data organisation has found an Airbnb host in Barcelona manages 204 apartments worth €37,721 (£33,369) a day in rental income during the high season.
The report by DataHippo, which was commissioned to analyse the tourist apartment industry in Barcelona, revealed the ten biggest hosts in the Spanish city manage 996 apartments between them, while a further 666 manage five or more, and 3,633 host between two and four.
Altogether the rent for licensed holiday apartments let via Airbnb and other platforms comes to €1.5m a day.
The findings appear to contradict the ‘shared economy’ image projected by Airbnb and other players in the online apartment market and come amidst growing evidence that the upsurge in tourist apartments is driving rents up and residents out.
Before a moratorium was introduced in 2014, Barcelona city authorities granted an unlimited number of holiday let licenses at €230 each, creating what has been described as a property gold rush. Owners were simply required to notify the local authority of the change of use of their property to obtain a licence, which would now have a market value of about €80,000 each.
In response to DataHippo’s findings, Airbnb said: “The vast majority of hosts in Barcelona are regular people and 76 per cent of hosts only have one entire home listing. Only four per cent have more than ten listings.”
Airbnb communications director, Andreu Castellano, said the findings by DataHippo showed that Barcelona city council needs to change its rules.
Castellano said: “While the vast majority of hosts are regular locals, more than 80% of accommodation licences are held by big hotels and real estate agents. We firmly believe that everyone should benefit from visitors to Barcelona – not just hotels – and are making good progress with policymakers on clear and modern rules to support local families sharing their homes.”
Airbnb has long argued that the ban on new licences has encouraged speculation, even if that is the opposite of what was intended.
“The regulation in Catalonia and Barcelona is contemplated exclusively from the perspective of the professional. It does not take into account the fact that people can offer a space in their own home,” he added.
Abigail Long, of independent analytics company, AirDNA, said the DataHippo findings only told half the story.
Long said: “These ‘multi-listing’ Airbnb hosts are not individuals making tens of thousands of euros per month in profit. They are vacation rental management companies (VRMs) that employ a team of staff to manage a portfolio of properties that are owned by their clients and typically take ten to thirty per cent of revenue made on a booking site.
“Airbnb is fast evolving from being a platform for ‘alternative’ accommodation for millennials on a budget to becoming a marketing and booking platform rivalling the largest players in the travel industry.
“Many new listings now being added to Airbnb are bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels and very high-end properties, which would also go some way to explaining multiple listings managed by one host,” she added.