Montana Democrat Invests in Company She Blames For Housing Crisis

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A Democrat running for Montana’s newest congressional district may have profited off a company she says blocks Montana families from affording homes.

Monica Tranel has slammed Airbnb and other vacation rental services for depleting the supply of long-term rentals and homes in her state. But financial disclosures show Tranel owns up to $50,000 in stock in Airbnb, meaning she stands to gain from a company she said robs families of a “fair shot at owning and renting a home.”

Tranel’s investments could hurt her chances as she squares off against Trump administration interior secretary Ryan Zinke. The price of a typical home in Montana has increased by 46 percent since late 2020, according to Zillow, and polls show 77 percent of Montanans are concerned about housing affordability. Experts say Airbnb contributes to skyrocketing prices, as houses that would otherwise be available to Montanans are taken off the market and converted to short-term rentals for travelers.

It is unclear when Tranel purchased the Airbnb stock, which is currently valued at just over $100 a share, or whether she has seen gains on her investment. Airbnb valued its stock at $68 a share when the company went public in December 2020. Share prices rose to over $200 in its first months as a publicly traded company before plummeting at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

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