- New York City is getting serious about its laws on rentals and hotels.
- Tourists might have a hard time finding a place to stay in New York City.
New York City has always been a hard place to visit — visitors have to learn to navigate the subway, pay for expensive hotels, and dodge bags of trash on the sidewalk on a hot summer’s day.
Average room rates are among the country’s highest at $235 a night — and those could get a lot higher with a double whammy of changes over the last couple of years.
To make matters worse, a new city law that requires Airbnb hosts to be present in a place they’re renting out has slashed the number of available apartments for short-term renting in the city.
In fact, between August 4 and September 5, 15,000 short-term listings in New York disappeared from Airbnb according to Wired citing Airbnb listings tracker Inside Airbnb.
That represents a drop of about 70%, with many converting to long-term listings that require a stay of 30 days or more — not exactly useful for tourists.
Where will all those tourists go? Don’t look at hotels.
There aren’t as many hotels being built because of a new law that makes it nearly impossible to build them without a special permit.
Neither of those things exactly roll out the “I ❤️NY” welcome mat.
These forces mean New York could become even more expensive because of simple supply and demand: As long as there are still lots of tourists who want to come to the Big Apple — and there were 56.7 million last year — and with potentially not enough Airbnb and hotel rooms to go around.
“New laws on short-term rentals in NYC may discourage budget travelers who usually turn to platforms like Airbnb for affordable stays,” Steve Turk, founder of Turk Hospitality, said.
If New York is your dream travel destination, Turk says you’ll have to be willing to pay for more expensive stays or settle for staying at home.
“We could see fewer budget travelers but more tourists willing to spend on regulated high-quality accommodations,” he said.
The Airbnb law especially is a big change. It requires Airbnb and other short-term hosts to register with the Office of Special Enforcement, stay in-unit with their guests, caps reservations at two people, and effectively bans entire-unit rentals.
Both Airbnb hosts and the company itself fought against the law being enforced with lawsuits over the summer and saw their cases promptly dismissed.
Razonie Napier, a New Yorker who spent years traveling to the city before moving there in July, told Insider he’d once splurged on expensive hotels but chose Airbnb in recent years for a more budget-friendly option.
“I’d spend $500 per night on a luxury hotel in the Lower East Side until I decided to save my money on cheaper options,” Napier told Insider. “This year I had to stay with friends since even the Airbnbs cost more than I was willing to pay.”
Even the Best Western in Coney Island, Brooklyn is nearly $300 a night at the time of writing for a one-night stay checking in on October 20 and out on the 21 — an upcoming Friday and Saturday. That’s not exactly a steal compared to the average US hotel price of $89.
Still, New York City will always draw tourists. These changes aren’t likely to make them go to Omaha for the weekend instead. But they’ll have to cough up more money.