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Many South Koreans rent out their homes during the Winter Olympics

The Olympic rings is seen in Hoenggye town, near the venue for the Opening and Closing ceremony ahead of PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.
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With the Winter Olympics underway in South Korea, residents in the country's Gangwon province are set to earn more than $2 million from renting out their homes to visitors, according to Airbnb.

Gangwon is set to house more than 9,000 travelers in Airbnb-listed homes during the games, the short-term rentals company said at a press conference in Seoul last week. There were about 4,000 Airbnb listings in the province, the company added.

On average, people booked accommodation for three nights and paid about $170 a night, the firm said. The costliest listing on Airbnb's website, as of Feb.14, was more than $400 for a one-night stay in Gangwon province.

The median income for residents from renting out their homes during the games was predicted to be about $260, according to the firm. In total, hosts in Gangwon were set to earn about $2.1 million, Airbnb said.

The Winter Olympics end on Feb. 25, and most of the events are held in Pyeongchang, a county within the Gangwon province.

Extra income — but higher rents?

Airbnb frequently touts itself as a way for homeowners to make extra income, but the company has been criticized for driving up rents as its service takes long-term rental units off the market.

A recent study found that in New York City, Airbnb removed between 7,000 and 13,500 units of housing stock from the long-term rental market between 2014 and 2017.

That study calculated that by reducing supply, Airbnb activity had in fact increased median long-term rent in the city by 1.4 percent over three years "resulting in a $380 rent increase for the median New York tenant looking for an apartment this year."

Airbnb questioned the methodology of that study, noting that it used "available for rent" instead of actual booked nights in determining that listings have been removed from the long-term market.