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Airbnb details sharp growth in California last year

Airbnb details sharp growth in California last year
Airbnb is issuing state-by-state reports on the income its rentals have generated for hosts. (John MacDougall / AFP/Getty Images)

California's Airbnb hosts took in $1 billion last year from some 5 million visitors who booked temporary lodging on the home-sharing platform, the company reported.

Host income rose 47% from $679 statewide in 2015, Airbnb said, while the number of Californians sharing their homes on the online platform soared 51% to 76,600.

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Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego accounted for nearly half of the total rental revenue in the state in 2016.

In L.A., Airbnb hosts collected $262.6 million from 1 million guests. San Francisco rentals followed with $147.4 million from 444,000 guests and San Diego hosts brought in $69.6 million from 357,300 guests.

Airbnb's state-by-state report of host income shows the growing popularity of the sometimes controversial home-sharing site.

The California report, released Wednesday, arrives as Los Angeles, San Diego and other cities grapple with how to regulate short-term rentals, whose critics claim are really commercial businesses that don't belong in residential neighborhoods.

Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty said the company's release of host income figures is part of a commitment it made in 2015 to regularly share data with municipalities about how its platform is being used.

"When a single platform is bringing in $1 billion worth of money and putting it into the pockets of Californians every year, it's hard to ignore that impact, and it's hard to not incorporate that into the conversation many communities are having about the best ways to regulate home sharing," Nulty said.

Pacific Beach homeowner Tom Coat, who has been pressing San Diego to outlaw the short-term rental of entire homes when the owners aren't present, said the Airbnb report was a public relations effort to influence local elected leaders.

"Airbnb is making a big profit off of selling the right to a peaceful environment in a residential zone," said Coat, a board member of Save San Diego Neighborhoods.

In its report, Airbnb made a point of noting that it is collecting lodging taxes from its hosts in 17 cities and counties in California. Over the last couple of years, the San Francisco-based company has been negotiating more agreements with municipalities to collect such taxes.

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