“Many Airbnb hosts are desperate to sell properties, say real-estate brokers like Greg Hague, who runs a Phoenix real-estate firm. “There’s been a flood of people. You have people coming to us saying, ‘I’m a month or two away from foreclosure. What’s it going to take to get it sold now?’ ” he said. That has diminished overall property values, he said.
The coronavirus’s spread has exposed swaths of the U.S. economy that were ill-suited for a crisis—great for offering inexpensive goods and services quickly, terrible in an economic disaster.
With Airbnb, hosts hired cleaning services, interior designers and property-maintenance workers who helped build miniature property empires—so their plight has ripple effects that go far beyond their own listings.
Airbnb hosts saw $1.5 billion in bookings vanish in mid-March as the travel industry froze.
The breakdown of the Airbnb economy could strain lenders, undermine property values and validate some local governments’ long-held suspicions that Airbnb contributed to the affordable-housing crisis.