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Airbnb probably isn’t driving up Atlanta rents a lot, at least not yet

Airbnb has faced controversy since its creation for allegedly driving up rent prices in cities where it operates. But does it really?

The case critics make is simple. Some landlords think they can make more money renting a given set of units to Airbnb customers than they can make renting that same set to long-term residents who live in the area. This reduces the supply of available apartments, driving up housing prices for locals.

If you ask Airbnb, their supporters will say most rentals on its platform would normally be vacant or unoccupied. They might point to a spare bedroom in someone’s house and say that renting a space like that, one that’s not part of the normal housing supply, doesn’t reduce the number of available rentals.  

Is any of it true, though? What about in Atlanta?

The statistics-happy website FiveThirtyEight analyzed Airbnb rental data provided by consulting firm Airdna and found right now, Airbnb isn’t having a huge effect on most cities’ housing supplies.

According to their data, Atlanta has 1,300 Airbnb listings during the year. Of those, 8.9 percent are “commercial” units rented for more than 180 days per year. New York uses this definition, which is considered conservative. The average across cities surveyed is 9.7 percent.

Atlanta, never the first destination for tourists, offers a far lower percentage of rental units than Honolulu. The Hawaiian capital has a stunning 21 percent of Airbnb units used commercially. Other cities with more tourism like Los Angeles and Las Vegas had higher percentages than Atlanta as well.

FiveThirtyEight also noted the absolute number of Airbnb rentals in most cities is too low to have a significant effect on rent prices.

The data becomes more worrying when it’s broken down by revenue. Airbnb hosts make a third (31.3 percent) of their $12 million revenue from the 8.9 percent of listings that are commercial properties. This ties the profits of Airbnb to commercial operators who rent year round and could take housing units off the market.

The last thing to remember is rent is affected by a number of factors. For example, Atlanta is suffering from a housing shortage that is worst in the nation. The cost of living is only going up as workers’ pay isn’t.

Airbnb disputed FiveThirtyEight’s “commercial unit” definition, saying it did not provide a “complete and accurate picture of our community.” 

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See a one-of-a-kind textile loft penthouse at the 2016 Serenbe Designer ShowHouse

Why just look at pictures of beautiful homes? Why not explore them?

The Third Annual Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Serenbe Designer ShowHouse will be open Friday, Sept. 9, through Sunday, Oct. 2. It will feature beautiful work from 15 designers in “luxurious indoor and outdoor rooms including playful porches and garden rooms with a copper outdoor spa.”

The website lists the full hours of the open house. The event takes place at 10625 Serenbe Lane in Chattahoochee Hills (full directions and map). Admission is $20.

Net proceeds from the event will support the next Art Farm artist cottage. The Art Farm is a complex at Serenbe that houses artists aligned with the Serenbe Institute. The first cottage in this line opened in January with the collaboration of Auburn University’s Rural Studio.

To see previous showhouses, check out the gallery above or see the full site.

$1.4M Marietta stunner offers ‘casual luxury’ in East Cobb

Call this the luxurious side of Marietta.

This Stonecroft Way house wants $1.4 million for a home with almost 6,000 square feet of living space. The house includes strategically placed gas lights, ivy-coated stone columns, hardwood floors and a combination library-office with built-in bookcases.

The six full bathrooms, two half baths and six bedrooms mean there’s plenty of room for your family to stretch out with this suburban delight. The “comfy media room,” butler’s pantry and hot tub also ensures you’ll never lack food or something to do.

Check out the full listing on Zillow

5 easy apartment upgrades to make your rental feel like home

The place you call home should feel like home, even if it's an apartment rental. That's why interior designer Blake Padgett Wilkie of Canton recommends apartment dwellers make some easy upgrades as soon as they move in. "If you surround yourself with things you love, you'll be happier," she said. "Adding your own touches makes you want to be at home."

In general, the upgrades don't have to be top of the line materials. "And they don't have to be small scale, either!" said Wilkie. "One of the best upgrades you could make, for example, are drop panels that run almost ceiling to floor. They can really pull together a wall or liven up your living space." Here are five other upgrades she suggests for personalizing any rental apartment:

1) Paint: Even if you have to pay for it yourself, you want your walls to be a color you love and enjoy. "Paint a nice neutral color, particularly if you don't have a lot of natural light," said Wilkie, who owns Magnolia Interiors. "Even a wall or two helps." She specifically recommends the currently popular shades of gray, especially Sherwin Williams' Agreeable Gray 7029.

2) Decorate with a functional wall shelf: A cubby or shelf with hooks below can help you make a space more cozy and get more organized at the same time. "Display a few of your favorite books on top or an eclectic mix of china finds," said Wilkie.

3) Splash some color around: Strategic dashes of a color that pops makes an apartment more cheerful, particularly against neutral walls or furnishings. Wilkie likes the idea of painting the backside of an inexpensive bookcase with a lively color and setting it up as a separator in a living space. "That's an easy way to punch up your decor," she said.

One good color to use is Sherwin Williams' Lagoon 6480. "It will go with khakis or grays, and you can pop pillows in to the design from the blue family or that are coral or yellow," she said.

4) Display family photos: You'll feel more at home surrounded by tastefully framed or matted family photos. Wilkie suggests hanging them on the wall, down a hallway or up a staircase. "That way you can start with a few and add to the length of the display as your schedule and budget allow." If you're concerned that a landlord would object, display the photos on an anchor piece of furniture, like a side table or chest.

5) Change up the cabinet hardware: You can personalize your kitchen simply by changing out the dull pulls and knobs that come with the standard apartment. Wilkie suggests Top Knobs as a go-to for up-to-date and fun hardware, or ferreting out vintage knobs at a flea market or antique store. The hardware you purchase doesn't have to be pricey, just something you would like to look at when you come home to fix dinner. "And the nice thing is, if you really like it, you can take it along to your next place," said Wilkie.

Stately $650K Alpharetta home offers beautiful open floor plan

This Alpharetta home offers suburban comfort and plenty of room.

The 5,000-square-foot house with five beds and five baths makes the most of its open floor plan and two-story grand foyer. It’s been fully renovated and given refinished hardwoods, new carpet, new lighting and fresh paint.

The master bedroom has double-sided fireplace and new bath vanities. The new vanities extend to the secondary bathrooms as well.

The terrace level has a bar, while the rest of the house includes a recreation room and a media room.

The large house sits on one acre of space at 415 Water Shadow Lane. See the Zillow listing for more. 

Photos: Playboy Mansion sold for $100 million

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