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This is Airbnb’s impact on Aussie housing markets

Photos: Getty
Photos: Getty

Airbnb is great – if you’re a tourist.

But residents in capital cities, who find themselves grappling with mounting housing and rental prices, have contributed to criticism that Airbnb properties have left residents being priced out of the housing and rental market.

Research published earlier this year by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute found that short-term letting platforms like Airbnb reduced the likelihood of a “steady and sufficient supply” of affordable long-term housing, with renters facing a more “complex and uncertain” market.

However, research from SGS Economics has found that Airbnb isn’t to blame for the rise in prices.

“The impact of Airbnb on the housing markets in Sydney and Melbourne appears to be minimal,” the research report said.

How many Airbnb properties are on the market?

Only a “very small portion” of the total property market in Sydney and Melbourne is made up of Airbnb dwellings, the report pointed out.

2017 saw approximately 25,000 listings that hosted guests in Sydney, and 14,500 listings in Melbourne.

Listings that were entire homes or apartments came to 15,200 and 8,500 in Sydney and Melbourne respectively.

“This represents 0.9 per cent of all dwellings in Sydney and 0.5 per cent of all dwellings in Melbourne, and of these, an even smaller per cent would be high frequency listings,” the report said.

Do you make more money by renting out to Airbnb?

The research found that renting out a room or a property on Airbnb isn’t actually more profitable than renting it out on the long-term rental market.

“With the exception of Melbourne City, it only appears to be worthwhile hosting a property on Airbnb compared to renting to a long term tenant for a couple of months per year.”

Tenancy agreements will usually guarantee fixed income for six to 12 months, while Airbnb doesn’t offer the same stability.

Not only that, but it doesn’t make sense – and isn’t financially viable – for landlords to rotate between renting their property on the long-term market for six months and listing it on Airbnb for the remaining six months.

Airbnb is filling a gap – but not in long-term rental or housing markets

Hotel accommodation occupancy rates are highest in the city of Melbourne and in inner-city Sydney, reflecting a demand for tourist accommodation.

Earlier this year, the City of Sydney identified a gap in three-star accommodation, which is particularly popular with Asian tourists. “It is possible that Airbnb is servicing this gap in the market,” the report said.

“It is likely that Airbnb has a greater role in addressing a gap in the tourist accommodation market, more so than any impact of the availability of rental accommodation in Sydney and Melbourne.”

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