Is Airbnb changing the housing market?

A property research group says it is putting pressure on affordability

Is Airbnb changing the housing market?


By Rebecca Pike

Airbnb could be putting unnecessary pressure on housing affordability according to one property research group.

The online marketplace allows owners to rent out their homes, or rooms in their homes, to holiday-makers.

RiskWise Property Research CEO Doron Peleg said while this has helped investors who are unable to find tenants, in areas like Byron Bay it had forced long-term tenants out of the market and increased property prices.

He said, “Investors know they can use the property for Airbnb and many put in place leasing contracts that only last 10 months, so they are vacant during summer for the holiday-makers, and this supports the demand for properties.

“So, when home buyers try to enter the market they are faced with competition from investors which obviously drives prices up.

“And those looking for long-term leases generally aren’t keen on moving every few months due to Airbnb so then that also encourages them to buy, which again means there are more competing for properties and pushing prices up. It’s a phenomenon which we are seeing around the world.”

According to recent CoreLogic data, house prices have been falling for the last 12 consecutive months nationally.

However, data from shows property prices in holiday areas such as Byron Bay had increased year on year between 2013 and 2017 with median prices more than doubling.

Peleg said limiting Airbnb to certain areas, for example where there was over-supply close to the city would help balance the market.

“However, the affect it has on tourism destinations is extremely detrimental for local tenants and it also impacts hotels and other tourism accommodation in the area as they generally can’t compete,” he said.

“It has a sustained impact on the entire population and actually makes demographic changes. If the proportion of short-term stays is high it pushes families out, not just because they can’t afford to live there, but also because they don’t want to live next door to party houses.

“In an ideal world, Airbnb would only be allowed in certain areas based on demographic, supply of properties and other considerations such as supporting the local economy.

“It must be balanced against the needs of the current residents as well as demand, and take housing affordability into account.”

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