NYC Airbnb Insights

[This article was first published on R – NYC Data Science Academy Blog, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers]. (You can report issue about the content on this page here)
Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.


“Hey, Yu-Han. I am going to Time Square to celebrate New Year this December. Do you have any recommendation about hotels or short-term rentals?” Once I heard my friend’s question, I intuitively replied, “Why don’t you check out Airbnb?” Then, helping my friend to find a great place to stay over a week triggers my interests in exploring Airbnb’s listings in New York City. Is there a borough where locates more budget-friendly and highly rated rooms? When is the best time to place your order in high season?

Is there a borough where locates more budget-friendly and highly rated rooms? When is the best time to place your order in high season? Feel free to play around my shiny app to check out some cool functions. Also, all the codes are available on my GitHub.


The Datasets

To acquire the most up-to-date data, I used Airbnb New York City’s datasets from “Inside Airbnb”, which is an independent website offering non-commercial sets of data. For the interactive map, I applied the full 2017 data that includes over 40,500 listings, composed of entire houses, private rooms, and shared rooms. As to analyzing the listings and price changes over time, I collected data from 2015 to 2017, which contains more than 45 million observations.


Research Questions

What is the overall location distribution of Airbnb NYC?

Which borough has a better price performance ratio? (i.e. being able to enjoy great experience even with limited budgets)

What are Airbnb NYC’s price changes over years and months?


Functions of my Shiny App

The Overview Of The Dataset

There are over 340,000 hosts and 40,ooo listings in the May 2017 NYC dataset. The overall market value is estimated based on the multiplication of minimum nights and 12% of listing price. Since Airbnb receives 6 to 12% booking fee from guests and charges 3% commission fee from hosts for every successful transaction. Therefore, the total average percentage of profit that Airbnb earns is 12% of one complete transaction.

NYC Interactive Map

To have a quick glance at the overall location distribution in NYC, we can use the “CLUSTER” function to group up nearby listings. In this interactive map, users are able to filter boroughs, room types, price range, rating score, and the number of reviews. Meanwhile, there are bar charts illustrating the count of each room type and average price based on users’ requirements on the left-hand side. After checking the big picture, this shiny app allows users to zoom in the map and take a deeper look at every listing by selecting “CIRCLE” button and clicking on specific dots.

Listing, Boroughs, and Price Changes

As to exploring detailed information in each borough, users can slide the price and rating score bar to check which borough has more listings meeting your expectations.

Last but not least, finding a great time to book your room is another factor that travelers may consider. By choosing the price change over “month”, you can see that the average price drops a little bit in July.


Fun Facts

  1. More than 80% of Airbnb properties in New York City are outside of mid-Manhattan area especially in East Village and Nolita.
  2. Brooklyn is a great neighborhood regards to its cheaper cost per night and higher rating score. Therefore, if you are out of time and want to narrow down your options, Brooklyn can be put into your consideration.
  3. According to the previous booking price (from May 2015) and future listing price (to May 2018), we know that the overall price for Airbnb NYC drops. There are some reasons why. First of all, New York State Senate passed new laws against short-term rental in 2016, which was a huge blow for Airbnb. On top of this regulation issue, the growth of competition can be another explanation for the decrease of price. Thirdly, there are more private rooms and shared rooms posted on Airbnb, which are much cheaper than entire apartments. The increase of private rooms and shared rooms leads to the price drop.
  4. There are price peaks in May, June, August, and December. However, during summer time, there is a dip in July.


Summary: Suggestions for Airbnb, Hosts, and Guests


New York City is the biggest market for Airbnb. According to 2017 data, the estimation of Airbnb NYC’s market value is over 27 million. Merely in New York City, Airbnb’s profitability is about 3.24 million. For expanding the market and retaining users, Airbnb not only has to deal with regulatory problems but also needs to keep improving user experiences.


For hosts who post up their listings in competitive areas, it is always smart to keep looking up others’ price. Or, offering some extra service such as offering breakfast, renting bikes and so forth would also attract more guests.


During summertime, July is a great time to place an order. Besides, there are more highly-rated yet budget-friendly listings in Brooklyn.



The post NYC Airbnb Insights appeared first on NYC Data Science Academy Blog.

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: R – NYC Data Science Academy Blog. offers daily e-mail updates about R news and tutorials about learning R and many other topics. Click here if you're looking to post or find an R/data-science job.
Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.

Never miss an update!
Subscribe to R-bloggers to receive
e-mails with the latest R posts.
(You will not see this message again.)

Click here to close (This popup will not appear again)