Airbnb Saw A Big Jump In Listings Near Riot Fest's New Home Last Year

By Rachel Cromidas in News on May 19, 2016 5:16PM

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A picture of a Chicago search on Airbnb.com

As Chicago's City Council ponders an ordinance to tighten the rules around short-term rentals like Airbnbs, the vacation rental company released a new report on the company's growth on the West Side. West Side Airbnb listings have doubled from 2014 to 2015, and the neighborhood near Riot Fest's new Douglas Park home saw the number of Airbnb users staying there jump over 800 percent.

The ordinance, proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, would limit the number of units per building that could be used as Airbnbs and would make Airbnb hosts subject to hotel taxes. On Wednesday the City Council postponed taking a full vote on the ordinance after scores of people filled the council chambers to voice a mix of opposition and support. Some are worried that the growth of Airbnbs could contribute to a housing shortage in popular neighborhoods and turn neighbors into party houses, but Airbnb reps say the company is boosting economic growth in some of the city's poorest West Side neighborhoods.

By the numbers, the average West Side Airbnb host made $7,050 in 2015, compared to $4,500 for the city overall. The West Side has over 1,000 Airbnb hosts, according to the report, and they hosted over 52,000 guests last year in total. The West Side's growth reflects the growth of Airbnb around Chicago, which saw a 105 percent increase in listings year over year. And in February, Airbnb released a report showing that the South Side was the fastest-growing region of Chicago for Airbnbs, with a 116 percent increase in listings year over year.

Meanwhile, West Side hosts "made a total of $8,800,000 during 2015—dollars that we know will stay in their neighborhoods," the report said.

Of course, the "West Side" is a big place, and it encompasses some of Chicago's hippest neighborhoods. Airbnb's report is by zip code, and 60607 includes parts of the blossoming tech hub known as the Near West Side, while 60622 includes Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village and West Town. But other neighborhoods that saw big jumps in Airbnb listings and trips included North Lawndale and Austin—two historically economically depressed neighborhoods that are miles from downtown. North Lawndale in particular is near Douglas Park, the site of the popular three-day music fest Riot Fest, which was pushed there from Humboldt Park last year—and, as you might expect, area Airbnbs saw a boost in interest around the fest's September dates.

[H/T Tribune]