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Airbnb in Massachusetts booming as regulations loom

Home-sharing site says more than 1.2 million stayed in the state in 2018 via an Airbnb rental

Square apps glowing on a smartphone. BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock

Airbnb registered a particularly banner year in Massachusetts in 2018, the last full year before new regulations aimed at such home-sharing sites are due to take effect.

In 2018, 1.2 million people stayed in Airbnb rentals in Massachusetts and Airbnb hosts in the state earned $256.4 million, the home-sharing site said in a recent report. In 2017, 893,200 people stayed in Airbnb rentals in Massachusetts, earning hosts $193 million.

Most of those 2018 Massachusetts Airbnb guests stayed in the Boston area. In Suffolk County, which includes Boston, there were 465,500 guests and $101.9 million in income in 2018. In Middlesex County, which includes Cambridge and Somerville, there were 230,100 visitors and $51.7 million in income.

At the start of 2019, there were 15,700 Airbnb hosts in Massachusetts, each typically earning about $7,800 in supplemental income from the rentals, the site said.

“This 2018 data demonstrates not only the success of the community that we have built in Massachusetts, but also the significant role that home-sharing plays in the financial futures of families across the commonwealth,” Andrew Kalloch, head of Massachusetts public policy for Airbnb, said in a statement. “There is no doubt that short-term rentals are an economic engine for hosts, communities, and local small businesses alike—one that we will continue to fight to protect and expand as we kick off 2019.”

The new regulations regarding home-sharing sites take effect July 1. Many hosts of short-term rentals will have to pay the same 5.7 percent state tax as hotels and will have to register with the state. Airbnb has called the legislation behind the regulations “flawed.”