Airbnb is killing rental properties in Sydney

Peter Terlato 28 November 2016

airbnb

Sharing economy can adversely affect traditional rents.

New research has found Sydney's rental market has been flooded by listings on peer-to-peer online property marketplace Airbnb, with landlords receiving similar returns as traditional rentals despite properties being less frequently occupied.

An analysis conducted by professors Nicole Gurran and Peter Phibbs at the University of Sydney's new Urban Housing Lab shows vacant rental supply in areas of Sydney are being absorbed by Airbnb hosts.

The research paper shows the City of Sydney, which encompasses the central business district and surrounding inner city suburbs, has 1268 Airbnb entire home listings. This compares with an average of just 876 rental home vacancies.

Airbnb hosts earn an average $2,866 each month, while the median rental return is $2,960 per month.

Waverley council in Sydney's eastern suburbs has 821 Airbnb entire home listings available for 90 days or more, compared with an average 232 vacant rental homes.

Airbnb hosts in this area earn an average $2,947 per month, while the median rent is $2,920 a month.

Gurran told the AFR this oversupply of Airbnb properties may place added pressure on traditional rents.

"Inner-city suburbs face a very high housing demand already and the amount of Airbnb stock in suburbs like Bondi Junction and Surry Hills seems to be actually higher than the rental vacancies available at any one time. Airbnb listings are competing with permanent rental supply," she said.

This isn't the first time Airbnb has caught flack for potentially undermining rental markets.

Earlier this year, Berlin banned the short-term rental of entire apartments to tourists without a city permit.

The move was in response to a marked decline in the number of properties available for long-term rental.

In an attempt to limit the number of days a year property owners can host guests through Airbnb, San Francisco implemented a registration law.

Regulating Airbnb has obvious benefits from a government point of view, not least of which is that it ensures that people making money doing this declare income and pay tax on it.

If you're travelling and plan on using Airbnb, it's helpful to know if travel insurance covers these stays.

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