Skift Take

We're looking forward to the end of March, when Airbnb and the New York State Attorney General square off in court.

Earlier this month Skift took a deep data dive into Airbnb’s listings in New York City, in what was the first instance of a third-party taking a data-driven look at how hosts and guests interact on the site.

Our first story looked at the most popular types of listings on the site and found that while shared spaces represented only 2% of listings and private rooms 42%, listings for entire apartments made up 66% of active listings on the site. The second story looked at eleven hosts in the city that had listings to their name in the double-digits.

One conclusion from both stories is that Airbnb still relies on the type of short-term rentals that the state of New York has deemed illegal, and that leases, co-ops, and condo boards restrict. They’re also the target of a probe by the New York State Attorney General.

But it also noted that the most popular neighborhoods were ones in which few hotels do business.

Listings Landscape

Unlike rooms sold by hotels, visitors are as likely to find a listing on Airbnb in some residential neighborhoods in Brooklyn or Queens as they are to find one in Midtown Manhattan. Much like the residents that make up the city, the listings on Airbnb are diverse, disparate, and at income levels that range from a sub-$30 shared bedroom in Bed-Stuy, to a $10,000 a night mansion on the Upper East Side.


Exactly how many are in New York is not clear. On the main New York neighborhoods page, Airbnb states that there are 34,257 listings. After diving into the website on multiple occasions in December and January, our partner Connotate never found more than 19,600, just a little more than half of what Airbnb claims it has in the city.

The discrepancy is present on Airbnb, too. Take Soho, for instance. The neighborhood page promotes the listings with the line “See 1,135 places to stay,” but when you follow the prompt and begin an open search, there are 280 listings to choose from. The discrepancy was  extreme in the case of Soho, but the number on the neighborhood page is always considerably higher than it is when a user begins a search.

Airbnb has not responded to questions seeking to clarify which of these numbers is correct. It claimed in December that it had 550,000 listings worldwide.

Listings Vs. Reviews

One of the leading reasons why Airbnb saw such rapid success is that it demystified the process of renting a place from a stranger. By integrating Facebook’s social graph and then verified identities, it gave users assurance that their host, or their guest, was likely not a creepy loner. The very low rate of incidents between hosts and guests has demonstrated this works rather well.

The second half of this is reviews by guests and hosts. They make users feel safe about sleeping in a strangers place, and allow both sides of the transaction to rate one another. Listings with multiple reviews are a good barometer for rental activity on a listing.

While we’ve added up the number of listings per neighborhood, below, we’ve also looked at which neighborhoods appear to be most active based upon user reviews. This allows us to see that while Alphabet City may not have as many reviews as the Upper East Side, more users are writing reviews on their stay in that neighborhood. It also tells us that Harlem, which is one of the five leading Airbnb neighborhoods by listing volume, is also one of the most popular by number of reviews.

It also tells us that Morningside Heights is no user favorite.

12 Most Popular by Percentage of Listings With Reviews

Neighborhood Number of Listings Listings With Reviews Percentage of Listings With Reviews
Alphabet City 447 355 79%
Red Hook 33 26 79%
Cobble Hill 30 23 77%
Noho 60 46 77%
Harlem 978 741 76%
Flushing 38 28 74%
Midtown 570 414 73%
Brooklyn Heights 102 74 73%
Lower East Side 726 524 72%
East Village 659 474 72%
Fort Greene 215 155 72%
Soho 229 166 72%

10 Least Popular by Percentage of Listings With Reviews

Neighborhood Number of Listings Listings With Reviews Percentage of Listings With Reviews
Morningside Heights 93 33 35%
Midtown East 347 136 39%
Battery Park City 100 40 40%
Financial District 353 166 47%
Kips Bay 419 219 52%
Windsor Terrace 59 31 53%
Washington Heights 392 214 55%
Tribeca 171 83 49%
Civic Center 25 14 56%
Flatiron District 254 147 58%
Upper East Side 1,091 668 61%
Gramercy Park 228 140 61%

Source: Skift/Connotate

All the Neighborhoods

Below is our compilation of listing information by neighborhood and borough. We can see that Manhattan is easily the largest neighborhood by sheer numbers, followed by Brooklyn and Queens.


Neighborhood Number of listings Listings with reviews
Astoria 402 252
Long Island City 90 60
Ridgewood 82 54
Jackson Heights 61 38
Flushing 38 28

Source: Skift/Connotate


Neighborhood Number of listings Listings with reviews
Williamsburg 1,694 1,141
Bedford-Stuyvesant 1,024 713
Bushwick 588 335
Crown Heights 491 304
Greenpoint 443 304
Park Slope 390 258
Clinton Hill 343 234
Fort Greene 215 155
Flatbush 231 140
Prospect Heights 183 127
Lefferts Garden 167 106
Boerum Hill 138 97
Carroll Gardens 127 80
Brooklyn Heights 102 74
Gowanus 83 59
Downtown Brooklyn 82 54
Kensington 64 37
DUMBO 46 32
Windsor Terrace 59 31
Red Hook 33 26
Cobble Hill 30 23

Source: Skift/Connotate


Neighborhood Number of listings Listings with reviews
Upper West Side 1,276 853
Harlem 978 741
Hell’s Kitchen 1,119 713
Upper East Side 1,091 668
Lower East Side 726 524
West Village 730 494
Chelsea 699 482
East Village 659 474
Midtown 570 414
Alphabet City 447 355
East Harlem 374 251
Greenwich Village 349 235
Washington Heights 392 214
Kips Bay 419 219
Soho 229 166
Financial District 353 166
Chinatown 234 165
Flatiron District 254 147
Gramercy Park 228 140
Midtown East 347 136
Nolita 179 113
Tribeca 171 83
Times Square/Theatre District 72 46
Noho 60 46
Inwood 61 43
Battery Park City 100 40
Morningside Heights 93 33
Hudson Square 37 26
Meatpacking District 33 23
Civic Center 25 14
Murray Hill 5 2
Little Italy 3 1
Union Square 2 0

Source: Skift/Connotate

A Note About Numbers

Airbnb’s main New York City page says it has over 34,000 listings spread between 60 neighborhoods. This is different than our total of under 20,000 listings. It appears that this discrepancy is due to Airbnb counting listings twice that are in overlapping neighborhoods. For instance, on the site all locations in the South Street Seaport area are also listed in the Financial District. Our neighborhood count listing numbers are lower for some neighborhoods, like Times Square that overlap with larger neighborhoods, like Midtown.


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Tags: airbnb, nyc, sharing

Photo credit: Manhattan has the lion's share of New York City's Airbnb listings. Skift

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