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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Airbnb ‘problem’ may be smaller than critics claim

New data appears to show that the number of active short lets is lower - and not higher - than in pre-Covid months.

A study by Your AirHost, an Airbnb management company in London, shows that in almost all neighbourhoods within the capital, the number of active short-term rentals was lower in Q1 of 2023 than in Q1 of 2020, shortly before the Covid outbreak.

This appears to contradict conventional wisdom which suggests Airbnb and other short lets are proliferating, often with unintended side effects of anti-social behaviour and stock shortage for the mainstream private rental market. 

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The study shows that the number of active rentals, which includes properties that had at least one day reserved or available each month, is down across the capital by 27 per cent compared with the beginning of 2020.

The data - which uses figures from analysts consultancy AirDNA, identifies only seven neighbourhoods where the number of active rentals has risen, with the average growth in these areas being 23 per cent.

Neighbourhood

Q1 2020

Q1 2023

% Growth

Bexley

191

347

81.68%

Barking & Dagenham

321

431

34.27%

Havering

255

308

20.78%

Croydon

1088

1220

12.13%

Acton

612

643

5.07%

Barnet

1422

1475

3.73%

Hounslow

501

515

2.79%

While some of the neighbourhoods with the highest decline are in central London, supply issues are affecting areas of both central and greater London.

The 10 neighbourhoods with the highest decline compared to pre-Covid levels are:

Neighbourhood

Q1 2020

Q1 2023

% Decline

Whitechapel

3812

1844

-51.63%

Bethnal Green

1825

970

-46.85%

Hammersmith

1732

985

-43.13%

Islington

3116

1806

-42.04%

Clerkenwell

1593

928

-41.75%

Bloomsbury

3808

2356

-38.13%

Maida Vale

1138

710

-37.61%

Westminster

2343

1462

-37.60%

City of London

674

429

-36.35%

Hampstead

1394

888

-36.30%

 

On the other hand, Airbnb property owners have seen their average daily rate climb by 67 per cent in the same period, from an average of £147 to £246 across the capital. Your Airhost suggests that the decline in available listings is therefore likely not a representation of demand but of shrinking availability in both long-term and short-term rental properties.

"The political climate for short-term rental owners is harsh and has become the new villain of the housing crisis” says Your AirHost owner Stefan Hoffelner.

But Hoffelner insists that studies like this show that, in some cases, short-term rentals are not the driving force behind the lack of housing in UK cities. He says the availability of London properties on short-term rental sites like Airbnb has been fluctuating since the beginning of the pandemic but, in almost all cases, availability has never reached pre-covid levels.

And he insists that while the focus on tighter controls on short-term rentals may have merit in some communities, it is not the solution to the housing crisis. 

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  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    Well Done AirBNB for putting the other side of the argument across. Great numbers and reasoning.

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