Airbnb listings surge in Maine, sparking push for stricter rules

Airbnb continues to grow in popularity in Maine, with 280,000 people booking short-term rentals last year via the online booking site, a 62% jump over 2016, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Those who rented out their homes or apartments earned a combined $43 million, which was $17 million more than the year before, with the typical host earning $6,900.

“I think it is fair to say there is robust growth in Maine,” Airbnb public policy specialist Andrew L. Kalloch told the newspaper.

Portland and South Portland accounted for about 28% of statewide revenue and 30% of guest stays last year, with Bar Harbor and Old Orchard Beach among the top destinations with the most Airbnb listings included.

The sudden rise in short-term rental properties offered through Airbnb and rivals has, however, sparked opposition and led to stricter regulation in some communities. That includes Portland, where new restrictions on un-hosted stays took effect at the start of the year.

A sample airbnb search by Mainebiz on Monday morning called up listings of a coastal house an hour from Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park for $56 a night, and a one-room log cabin on a “lovely mountain road,” whose location was not immediately clear, for $79 a night.

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