Wellington Propertyscouts

Wellington's rental squeeze could worsen as homeowners chose Airbnb over renting - 9th Mar 2017

The lure of big money could be keeping rental properties out of the general tenancy market. This $1000-a-night home in central Wellington (top centre) went in an hour to tourists coming for the British and Irish Lions rugby tour.

Airbnb's growing popularity could see the already scarce number of rental properties in Wellington diminish even further over the next five years, an industry insider says.
Andrew Murray, director of Auckland's Apartment Specialists, which sells apartments commonly used as dedicated short-term Airbnb rentals, is warning councils must address the issue now.

The company is expanding into Wellington and Murray says Airbnb is poised to become even more of a factor in the capital's rental crisis as more and more landlords turn over their flats and apartments exclusively to Airbnb management companies, rather than renting them out the traditional way.

The problem could become as drastic in Wellington and Auckland as it had in Berlin. Last year, the German capital banned Airbnb and its competitors to protect affordable housing and supply in the city.

"[Airbnb] is taking away rental stock from traditional long-term tenants. We all need rentals but as this catches on and tourism increases it's going to be a problem," Murray said.
Last week, experts said the growing numbers of students in Wellington, combined with a decline in the city's social housing stock and the growth of property management companies had seen a drastic reduction in rentals across the city.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said he was aware of the looming problem and felt a level playing field needed to be created between hotels and motels, and landlords operating properties commercially just for Airbnb.

"It will need to be policed more closely but they need to be treated the same for tax and rates purposes. As Airbnb's popularity increases we need to consider how we treat it."
An Airbnb spokesman said listings in Wellington represented about 1 per cent of housing in the city.

"Of that small percentage, the overwhelming majority of Airbnb hosts in New Zealand list their primary residence, earning a modest $3700 a year."

Jess Walker, founder of Auckland Airbnb property management company Idle, which is also expanding into Wellington, said most of its customers were homeowners who wanted to travel and make hassle-free money while their houses were vacant. "So these cases are not impacting on the city's rental market." 

Hospitality New Zealand general manager of accommodation Rachael Shadbolt said Airbnb was not harming hotels in the CBD but could potentially impact motels on the city's outskirts.

Airbnb is an online, community-driven marketplace that allows 'hosts' to rent out their own home or room, and 'guests' to find a house, apartment, single room or shared room to stay in.
It is free to browse or create a listing, and hosts decide how much to charge.

Once a guest pays and the host confirms the reservation, Airbnb holds the payment for 24 hours after check-in before releasing the funds to the host.

Hosts have the option of pre-approving guests, and guests can contact hosts through the website.

Guests pay a service fee on top of the reservation. Airbnb also takes a service fee from the host for each reservation to cover the cost of processing the transaction. Both parties can also review each other after the stay.
 - Stuff

For full article: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/90104439/wellingtons-rental-squeeze-could-worsen-as-homeowners-chose-airbnb-over-renting


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