Iceland, Reykjavik, city, Airbnb, social, inequality, streets, study
Photo: Inspired by Iceland

Airbnb promotes inequality in Iceland, says study

New research breaks down the stats on Airbnb properties in Iceland’s capital and surroundings, finding that a high concentration has consequences for social equality.

The newspaper Kjarninn reports that according to a new study, of the registered Airbnb owners in Iceland’s capital region, 80% were located in Reykjavík.

Furthermore, over 60% of registered Airbnb owners in Reykjavík are offering properties in the city centre or close to it.

The streets that have the most Airbnb properties listed are Laugavegur, Hverfisgata, Grettisgata, Berþórugata, Odinsgata and Bjarnarstígur, with up to 70% of the properties on several of these streets registered as Airbnb accommodations.

As of April 2019, there were 2,567 property owners in Reykjavík registered on Airbnb. Of these, 58% are operating without a valid license.

The number of homeowners in the area of the capital with registered properties on Airbnb has dramatically increased in recent years. In January 2016, there were 2,032 owners registered on the website. By January 2018, the number had almost doubled to 4,154.

Financial consequences
The study shows that homeowners who rent out their properties on Airbnb are not a homogeneous group of people with the same goals and business practices. So, the consequences for these individuals renting their properties vary.

While in some cases Airbnb has led to property ownership being shifted to investors and businesses, in other cases it has helped individuals to afford to remain in their homes or find a new source of income.

Nevertheless, one of the main findings of the study is that Airbnb and short-term leases seem to be more likely to promote social inequality. While the business can create financial opportunities for those who already own assets, those looking to rent or purchase face lower supply and higher prices, making it more difficult.

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