Airbnb: short-term rentals and the Australian housing market
The number of properties available for short-term letting (STL) in Australia, made available through platforms such as Airbnb, is on the rise. The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) has looked at how this has impacted private housing markets in Australia, and suggested how policy makers should approach the issue when considering an appropriate regulatory response.
According to AHURI, decreasing bond lodgment rates and increasing levels of property vacancy in inner city areas of Sydney and Melbourne indicate that STL is contributing to unaffordability by taking properties out of the long-term rental pool. The impact on affordability across the entire city may be more limited, however, as the growth of STL is less visible in suburban areas. In high-demand areas such as Darlinghurst and Manly in Sydney, and Docklands, Southbank, Fitzroy and St. Kilda in Melbourne, Airbnb listings account for up to 15.3 percent of rental housing stock.
To mitigate the issues that come with STL, AHURI suggest that the so-called ‘Notificatory Approach’ should be applied in Sydney and Melbourne. Under this framework, first seen in Amsterdam, STL is allowed after prior notification is given to city authorities, and generally comes with locally determined length of stay limits. Setting up such a system could be the first step in balancing the public interest in STL, with the need to maintain an affordable rental market.
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