New study finds seniors are fastest growing group of Airbnb host - KPTV - FOX 12

New study finds seniors are fastest growing group of Airbnb hosts in Portland

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When you think of who uses Airbnb, you might think of millennials. But, a new study shows seniors are the fastest growing group of hosts in the Portland metro area who are looking into sharing their homes.

It's helping them prepare for retirement and afford to stay in their homes, according to the report.

"I'm a piano teacher, so I don't have a lot of social security, I've always been entrepreneurial so I don't have a 401k," said Southeast Portland resident Carole Wiles.

Wiles tells FOX 12 she saw an opportunity to make some extra money when she heard about online home sharing networks like Airbnb.

"I'm 65 years old and people aren't hiring someone over 60, especially woman.  But, hosting is a predominantly women run business, it's entrepreneurial and it was natural for me to open our house up to people from all over the world," said Wiles.

She's done just that. Wiles and her husband say they make some $1,500 a month just by opening up their home to Portland's visitors.

"It's over what a mortgage would be on this house," she added.

Airbnb tells FOX 12 seniors are their fastest growing group of hosts in the Portland metro area. The number of hosts ages 60 to 90 grew 72 percent from 2015 to 2016 and more senior women seem to be hosting than men.

On average, Airbnb says those hosts make around $10,504 per year.

FOX 12 called around to local financial advisors and CPA's in the Portland metro area who say they too have noticed their senior clients are showing interest in becoming Airbnb hosts, or even listing their home with VRBO, because it's helping them afford to stay in their homes.

Those advisors say they've also noticed an uptick in senior clients wanting to build accessory dwelling units on their property, or ADU's as they call them, to rent out for an extra source of income.

"I've talked five to 10 people into doing Airbnb who were on the verge of losing their homes. People who work their whole lives and are retirement age and are about to give up their house, and I say to them, 'this is what you can do,'" said Wiles.

Wiles says she's learned a lot from being a host these past couple of years.

"It makes community, and then in the face of all the fear that's being spread around all the time, having over 200 wonderful guests stay with you,  you realize the world is really small and made up of people whose needs are basically the same as yours," said Wiles.

But, mainly that her dream of retirement isn't so out of reach after all.

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