AirBnB listings in Seattle: A deeper look

What is the typical discount for renting a house for a week or for a month?Seattle has multiple neighborhoods.

Can we observe some variations across them1.

Where are most listings concentrated?2.

Is there a skew in the distribution of prices between neighborhoods?3.

Are listings in some neighborhoods generally more available than the others?Question 1: Listing availability1.

a Are listings typically available only on weekends or some specific days of the week?When we pivot the availability data using the day of the week, we obtain the following:We see that there is little to no variation amongst days of the week across Seattle in general at least.

In fact, if we were to analyze availability/day of the week at the neighborhood level, the same holds.

No neighborhood shows any variation across days of the week.

Avg availability/day of the week for different neighborhoods in Seattle1.

b Is there a seasonality pattern visible across months of the year?When we take the average availability of listings for each month across Seattle, we obtain the followingAverage monthly availability for listings in SeattleThis is quite interesting.

There are 3major observations here:Spike towards the end of the year peaking in DecemberOne potential explanation could be that towards the end of the year more people go on vacation and there is higher demand reflecting in higher availabilitySharp dip in JanuaryThis one is very intriguing, all the more since availability bounces back in February to levels close to the other months.

I guess after the ramp up during the end of the year, people use this as downtime to restock, make fixes, upgrades etc.

Dip in July and AugustSeattle is known for its rains.

July and August are the driest and warmest months of the year in Seattle ( Ref ).

I believe this could mean more people tend to go on vacation outside the city during these 2 months.

The lower demand could have driven availability down and listing owners could use this time to make upgrades or fixes to their listings etc.

Question 2: What is the typical discount for renting a house for a week or for a month?Before looking into the discounting for weekly or monthly rentals, one must keep in mind not all listings may even allow being rented for such elongated periods of the time.

In fact, only about 50% of the listings had a weekly rent listed and only about 40% of the listings had a monthly rent listed.

The distributions of the weekly and monthly discounts look as followsDistribution of weekly and monthly discounts across SeattleThe first thing that stands out from the above graphs is that weekly and monthly discounts can be negative!One would typically not expect this at all.

A plausible explanation for negative discounts is that it probably takes more effort to keep a facility up for a week or a month.

Again one must keep in mind only a few listing offer weekly or monthly rentals at all.

Let's take a look at some of the numbers nowWeekly and monthly discount statisticsFew observations from the above:The average weekly discount is considerably lesser than the monthly discountThis is quite understandable.

One would expect discounts for a monthly rental to be higher than that of weekly rentals.

There is a wide variance for both weekly and monthly discountMonthly discounts can be as high as 66%!!.and weekly discounts can be as high as ~24%.

On the negative side, both could be close to -10%Question 3: Variations amongst neighborhoods in Seattle3.

a Where are most listings concentratedThere are two attributes provided in the dataset that indicate the location of the listing.

One is neighborhood and the other is neighborhood group.

The latter splits the city into 17 areas while the former splits the city into 87 areas.

Here we use the neighborhood group attribute to see how the listings are spread across the city.

Going forward we would use neighborhood interchangeably with neighborhood group.

The number of listings in each neighborhood group is as follows:To get a sense of where these areas are, let’s refer to the Seattle map from the Office of the city clerk, SeattleSeattle city map.

Source: Office of the city clerk, SeattleExcluding ‘Other neighborhoods’, 4 of the top 5 neighborhoods are in central Seattle.

This seems natural in a way.

Closer to the city center, one can expect higher population density and a greater concentration of commercial and business spaces.

Both could mean there is greater demand for listings in that area and hence a higher number of listings.


b Is there a skew in the distribution of prices across neighborhoods?Let’s take a look at the average prices in each neighborhood group in SeattleWe can still see that places in central Seattle are priced a little higher, which is quite expected again.

Typically real estate prices and cost of living is higher closer to the city center and this is reflected in the data.

Avg price/bed for listings in different neighborhoods in SeattleHowever, the analysis isn’t quite fair on one front.

It’s unfair to compare the price of a 3 bed listing with a single bed listing.

While it’s hard to create a perfect metric that accounts for all such factors, let’s start with the price/bedLet’s compute the price/bed and see how its distribution is.

Is it similar to what we saw earlier?3 out of the top 5 neighborhoods overlap when comparing neighborhoods by price and price/bed.

Also, central Seattle still shows up on top here.

Hence one could say prices and prices/bed follow the same patterns across neighborhoods.

If one extended the above analysis to price/bedroom, one would see similar results.


c Do listings in some neighborhoods have more availability than the others?Avg num days available per neighborhoodIf we compute the average number of days listings are available in each neighborhood, we obtain the data on the left.

4 of the bottom 5 availability areas are in central Seattle.

There are 3 distinct buckets one could form here:High availability: >260 Medium availability: 240–260 Low availability: <240One can observe that all members of the low availability bucket are from Central Seattle.

Note: Excluding ‘Other neighborhoods’ from the above listsConclusionIn this article, we looked at AirBnB data from Seattle.

In particular, we analyzed 3 aspects — availability patterns, weekly/monthly discounting and variations across neighborhoods.

We noticed many interesting patterns in each aspect, some which we were able to explain, some which need more analysis to understand better.

The high-level takeaways are:Listings in Seattle peak in availability towards the end of the year and hit their lows in January, July, and August.

They are equally available on weekdays and weekends.

There is some discount that one could get for renting a listing for a week or a month, but it has a wide variance and can even be negative.

Most listings are concentrated in Central Seattle.

Prices are the highest there and the availability is the lowest there as well.

This dataset is very intriguing and makes one ask several questions.

Some questions for future analysis include:What are the primary factors that influence the pricing of a house?What kind of reviews do people write for listings in Seattle?.

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