How is Airbnb impacting housing affordability?

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Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) want to talk to Airbnb hosts in Sydney and Melbourne to better understand the impact the short-term rental platform is having on housing affordability.

While stories about unfair competition and party houses are widely circulated in the media, not enough is known about Airbnb’s precise impact on housing affordability, according to Laura Crommelin, research lecturer at UNSW’s City Futures Research Centre.

Crommelin is leading the research, which is being done in collaboration with Melbourne’s Swinburne University, with funds from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI).

Hosts offering entire homes or single spare rooms on the platform are being asked about why they’re using the service and their experiences with it.

“Those two uses are potentially very different in terms of their impact on housing affordability,” Crommelin said. “The first group takes a house out of the market; the second is more a case of a space that may or may not have been rented out if it wasn’t for Airbnb.”

According to Inside Airbnb, an independent, non-commercial set of tools and data that allows the public to explore how Airbnb is being used in cities around the world, of the 32,830 listings in Sydney, 61.5% are for entire homes, 37% for private rooms, and a mere 1.5% for share rooms. The breakdown is virtually identical for Melbourne’s 20,406 listings.

“We want to find out, for example, if spare rooms were previously rented to flatmates. Would the owners of large homes have downsized if they hadn’t listed spare rooms on Airbnb? And are people adding space to their homes or building granny flats to take advantage of Airbnb’s popularity?”

“By surveying and interviewing hosts, we hope to better inform policy makers who might want to regulate the short-term rental market,” Crommelin said.

Calling all Airbnb hosts in Sydney and Melbourne

Are you an Airbnb host in Sydney or Melbourne, or have you considered listing a property in these cities on the platform? The UNSW research team would love to hear from you. 

For more information, please contact Dr Laura Crommelin:  

(m) 0409 147 896


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