Study says short-term rentals bring Jersey City $40M a year, though legitimacy questioned


A new study by the Internet Association says that short-term rentals including Airbnb brings Jersey City $40 million annually, though some opponents are writing off the legitimacy of the findings.

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By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Short-term rentals give an enormous boost to Jersey City and its residents,” IA’s Northeast Region Director John Olsen said in a statement.

“The city’s entire economy benefits from STRs and the tourism they help facilitate. Our research shows that STRs, on top of bringing more than $40 million of economic activity, also generate seven additional jobs in the city for every direct STR job.”

The study also asserts that the average revenue per listing in Jersey City is $12,000, 18 percent of the average median income of residents who use short-term rentals, as well as that the STR community has created 356 additional jobs in the city and added $3.3 million a year to the city’s gross domestic product.

Conversely, State Director for NJ Working Families Sue Altman said that if the IA truly believed in their findings, they would be encouraging Jersey City voters to approve the November 5th referendum on STRs.

“If the Internet Association really wanted money from short-term rentals to benefit Jersey City, they would support the proposed ordinance, which requires short-tern rental hosts to be actual residents of the city,” Altman said.

“This study is badly flawed because many of the people who are turning entire neighborhoods into hotels don’t even live in the city. That means the big investors are getting rich, while working families pay higher rents. Jersey City residents should vote YES to protect their housing and neighborhoods while allowing responsible rental activity to continue to benefit Jersey City.”

Furthermore, Jersey City spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione referred to the findings as “a fake study” since Airbnb is a member of the IA, further stating that the current Airbnb arrangements in Jersey City are having a negative impact on areas like affordable housing.

“This fake study is authored by the Internet Association, whose entire purpose is to maximize the profits of big tech corporations like Airbnb. The truth is – the way it stands, we are losing money in areas our residents need it most: most alarmingly, affordable housing,” she stated.

Other reports, such as last year’s New York City comptroller findings, note that Airbnb has cost renters millions ($616 million in 2016 according to Comptroller Scott Stringer).

“Short-term rentals are putting big money in the pockets of wealthy out-of-town real estate investors who scoop up properties for STR only to take away affordable housing stock from Jersey City residents, while sending rents and housing prices skyrocketing. The report, although lacking credibility, only reinforces the exact reason we are asking people to vote YES this November.”

According to the IA report, they conducted their own analysis using proprietary data and federal government assets.

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