Airbnb says single-room listings jump amid cost-of-living crisis

Airbnb Inc (ABNB.O) said on Wednesday it had recorded a “disproportionate” 31% rise in single-room listings on its platform in the third quarter, as more people sought extra income in the face of a cost-of-living crisis.

The company said property listings rose across regions, without disclosing specific numbers, and to aid the growth, it unveiled an app update on Wednesday to make the process easier.

“We have seen a lot of people being more interested than even before in hosting to defray their cost of living,” Airbnb Chief Executive Brian Chesky said, as high inflation due to the Ukraine war puts fragile household budgets under pressure.

About 46% of hosts on Airbnb said they used the extra money from renting out properties to pay for food and other items, while one in 10 said it helped them avoid eviction or foreclosure, the company said, citing a survey.

Some popular tourist destinations have, however, blamed the company for aggravating housing shortages, as landlords increasingly rent out properties to vacationers amid a surge in travel, rather than going for long-term tenants.

Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk, in an interview with Reuters, blamed rising interest rates for creating a shortage of new homes, adding it has also been tough for the industry to adapt to buyers increasingly looking for homes outside big cities.

Meanwhile, the company said longer guest stays due to remote working will continue to boost results, as travel demand shows no signs of easing despite economic headwinds.

It is also expanding its ‘categories’ feature, which will allow users to book vacations without entering a destination.