Land Use
 

Four things we’ve learned by mapping Airbnb permits in New Orleans

We’ve been mapping short-term rental applications in New Orleans for a couple months now.

With a few thousand applications in, we can draw some initial conclusions about what parts of the city are most affected by vacation rentals and what types of properties are being rented.

These issues were central to last year’s debate over short-term rentals, which ended with the city council’s decision to legalize and regulate vacation rentals as of April 1. But because there was no central registry — and vacation rental sites often don’t reveal exact locations of properties — there was little hard data.

The city began accepting applications in March from people who wanted to rent their houses and apartments through Airbnb, VRBO and similar services.

City officials said they wouldn’t start enforcing the regulations until after JazzFest, on May 15.

So far, the city has issued citations for 367 properties, according to Erin Burns, spokeswoman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Hearings will be held on those violations later this month.

 

Estimates of short-term rentals appear to have been accurate

As of Friday, about 4,300 applications have been submitted for short-term rentals.

That’s close to estimates of how many rentals were operating illegally in the city. (Until April, it was illegal to rent a property for less than 30 days at a time, and 60 days in the French Quarter.)

In early 2016, the City Planning Commission estimated there were 2,400 to 4,000 short-term rentals. In October, an Airbnb tracker called Inside Airbnb estimated there were about 4,500.

Few of the applications have been denied, usually because the applicant hasn’t responded to questions from city employees. So far, 1,945 have been licensed.

In April, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reported that Airbnb pledged to delist any property that wasn’t licensed as of June 1. However, a number of listings Tuesday morning said the hosts had pending applications with the city.

Airbnb spokeswoman Laura Rillos clarified that hosts only need to have applied for a license in order to keep their listings.

“As part of our commitment to being good partners with the City, hosts who did not apply for their license had their short-term rentals delisted from our platform earlier this month and this process is continuing,” Rillos wrote in an email.

Most rentals are for an entire house or apartment

One of the big questions in the debate over short-term rentals was whether people should be allowed to rent entire homes.

Opponents said that would reduce the supply of long-term rental properties, further straining a market where home prices have skyrocketed over the past decade. Supporters said homeowners should have the option of renting their homes to pay their mortgages, property taxes and insurance.

Two types of city licenses, commercial and temporary, allow people to rent entire houses or apartments.

Temporary licenses allow a property to be rented for up to 90 days a year. Commercial licenses, available in non-residential areas, do not have an annual limit.

As of Friday, the city had issued 1,302 commercial and temporary licenses — 66 percent of all licenses in the city.

In addition, some applications for accessory licenses say they are for one side of a double. Including those, 70 percent of short-term rentals in the city are for entire homes.

Accessory licenses generally allow someone to rent out a portion of their home, but they also allow someone to rent out half of a double-occupancy house, like the shotgun doubles that are common in New Orleans.

The highest concentration of commercial and temporary licenses are in or near areas popular with tourists. One exception is the Quarter, which aside for a portion of Bourbon Street is largely off-limits to short-term rentals.

But those types of rentals can be found all over the city, from the Jefferson Parish border on the west side of the city to the St. Tammany Parish line on the east.

Short-term rentals are concentrated in desirable, expensive neighborhoods

This map compares average sales prices for homes to the number of short-term rental applications in each ZIP code.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, short-term rental applications are concentrated in areas with high real-estate prices. The one major exception is 70124, which includes Lakeview — an affluent area with few short-term rentals.


Source: 2016 Year-End Semi-annual Housing Market Analysis, New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors

The pattern holds when you drill down to the neighborhood level, with more short-term rentals in neighborhoods with the hottest real estate listings.

For example, the 70117 ZIP code includes Bywater, St. Claude and the Lower 9th Ward. Most short-term rentals are in Bywater, particularly the end closest to the Marigny.

The 70114 ZIP code covers much of Algiers, but short-term rentals are clustered in Algiers Point.

Commercial licenses have been issued throughout the city

Commercial licenses are available in non-residential zoning districts. That includes large commercial districts like the Central Business District, but also commercially zoned blocks in residential areas.

This map shows the 321 commercial rentals that are licensed as of Friday.

There are 129 commercial licenses in the Central Business District, by far the heaviest concentration. But short-term rentals with commercial licenses have popped up outside that area, typically on commercial corridors.

As of Friday, there are 44 in Faubourg Marigny, 35 in Central City, 16 in Mid-City and 15 in the Lower Garden District.

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