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Having Crushed the Rental Market, Airbnb Stoops to a Brutal New Low
The corporation's latest ploy will see rent and house prices soar
Brian Chesky started Airbnb out of desperation.
He and his roommates couldn’t afford the crushing rents charged by their San Francisco land-lorder, so they bought an air mattress, did some advertising, and served breakfast to their guests.
AirBed & Breakfast was born.
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But things have changed since then. The booking behemoth ditched breakfast (and in-person human interaction), splashed out hundreds of millions to monopolize dozens of competing companies, its hosts have evicted millions of families to turn their homes into full-time clerkless hotels that shatter communities, and Airbnb has gone public as a $60 billion conglomerate with a promise in their IPO documents to fight democracies in court for as long as they can afford to do so.
The Airbnb Effect has taken a brutal toll on all of us:
Because parasitic land-lorders can rake in more cash from weekend holiday rentals than they can from everyday working locals, rentals markets in thousands of cities have contracted or completely dried up — and when rental long-term apartments do become available for lease, the price tags are more in line with premium commercial prices than everyday residential prices. Rents have soared by hundreds of billions of dollars per year, all paid from the assetless working class to the property-monopolizing extraction class.
But it’s not just renters who’ve been hammered with higher prices. A house that used to get $500 in monthly rental income was worth, say, $250,000. But now that it can get $1500/month from rich holidaymakers who don’t give a $#!t about local families, that house is suddenly worth $500,000 or more. Every neighborhood on earth that has seen a proliferation of Airbnbs has seen a rise in house prices — which means heavier mortgages and interest payments for working locals who somehow manage to outbid investors for a home.
In other words:
The Airbnb Effect has made its investors $60 billion, but it has cost the world trillions of dollars in added rent and mortgage payments.
(So much for capitalism being “efficient.”)
Airbnb in crisis
Unfortunately for Airbnb, we’re heading into what appears to be a recession or at least a spending and credit contraction, as interest rates are high and people are tightening their belts to pay over-inflated prices to war profiteers like fossil fuel companies.
Some overleveraged Airbnb hosts are already getting desperate, and are trying to save their cash cow by various and sundry means:
Some are dropping their nightly rental price.
Some are trying to sell before the next real estate market crash.
Some are advertising their Airbnbs as rentals for locals… but cruelly on a six-month lease, hoping for a vacation recovery by summer.
None of this bodes well for Airbnb Inc., whose sole fiduciary reason for existing is to deliver compounding growth and a deluge of cash profits to non-contributing shareholders forever. It’s mathematically unsustainable, of course, but will that stop the sociopaths at Airbnb HQ from trying?
Having sized up the awful global economic situation, corporatist comrade Chesky has decided there’s only one thing to do to spark growth in these troubling times:
Prey on desperate people.
Reaching for a new low
Imagine there was a class of people in America that commuted and slaved from dawn to dusk, day in and day out, for corporate-suppressed wages.
Now imagine that same group of people doesn’t own any assets, because they have to pay so much in rent just to stay sheltered that they can never save up a big enough down payment to keep up with ever-rising house prices thanks to houses being turned into corporate investments. #RentTrapped
Now imagine a company (we’ll call it Airbnb) coming along and offering a “solution” to the poor people’s problems, which will actually just make their problems far worse.
Introducing: “Airbnb-Friendly Apartments.”
Basically, Airbnb knows that tenants can no longer afford rent thanks to Airbnb pushing up rent and house prices, and their brilliant solution is to add gasoline to the dumpster fire called affordable housing.
It’s the same as saying:
Can’t afford rent thanks to Airbnb?
Just rent your rental on Airbnb!
Airbnb insists that this is “great” for renters, but it’s a pure and unadulterated lie.
Here’s what’s actually going to happen:
Desperate renters will flood onto Airbnb by the millions.
The average renter will make a few hundred extra bucks a month. Some will make $1,000+.
Land-lorders will sniff out the profit opportunities.
Land-lorders will seek to capture a share of that income by raising rents on tenants. This will have the knock-on effect of raising rents for all the other rentals in the area, which will push more desperate renters onto Airbnb.
Other land-lorders will seek to capture all of that extra income by evicting their tenants and running the property as an Airbnb. This will have the knock-on effect of raising house prices in the area, but also creating a shortage of long-term rentals, which will push rent prices even higher.
In other words:
Airbnb is trying to initiate a viral doom loop that spirals communities into a financial position that requires tenants and land-lorders alike to use Airbnb just to survive.
Not only that, but what the heck happens to all the other people who live in the 175 condo towers that Airbnb is currently targeting for a holiday-maker takeover?
Why should working local families have to put up with strangers in their pool?
Who will clean up the beer bottles and the vomit on the patio?
Who will sort the unsorted trash?
Who will pay for the added cleanup and security?
Airbnb, like all corporations, seeks to privatize the profits and force the costs onto the commons.
This evil new move into renting rentals won’t be a long-term win for renters or homeowners. It will push rent and house prices to new highs. It will make everyone work harder to survive, which will push down wages. It will make people homeless.
Brian Chesky will go down in history as a corporate predator who made millions of families homeless and cost the world trillions of dollars in overpriced housing.
Mark my words, friends: Airbnb is a serf-making machine.
And it will not stop until we stop it.
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