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Airbnb's Not Cooking the Books Again?

The Daily Telegraph reported yesterday: Airbnb is now a multi-billion dollar business in Australia.

A Deloitte Access Economics Report commissioned by Airbnb, found $441 million was spent on home sharing in 2015-16 by 2.1 million people and $1.6 billion was spent by Airbnb’s clients. Airbnb’s landlords tell of an ‘explosion’ in properties now competing for bookings, or in other words, some 115,000 homes across Australia no longer available to Residents as they are now listed through Airbnb, unless of course one is willing to pay 2-3-or more times the going weekly rent. Deloitte Access Economics claim Airbnb landlords earning on average $4,920.00 p.a. however the landlords quoted in the Daily Telegraph concede they’re making “a lot more”. Byron Bay Mayor Simon Richardson quotes some earning $150,000 a year holiday letting.

Were Airbnb and Expedia (who owns Stayz) to disappear from our shores, would the Tourists disappear with them, or would they continue to come and stay in accredited accommodation? And would they still eat, drink and make merry? We think they would; and we estimated that their expenditure would guarantee the creation of jobs in the Tourism and Hospitality Industries plus produce tax revenue for our State and Federal Governments.

Airbnb’s Report would – remember, we haven’t seen it - seem to omit one critical factor, which is the cost to our economy and society each and every time a home is removed from our Residential Housing supply.

Fault of no data being sought by our NSW Parliamentary Hearing Committee into short-term letting, we quote San Francisco’s Chief and Principal Economists, Ted Egan and Asim Khan. They ran data on the impacts of short-term letting on their city and concluded that even if a property generates visitor income and spending and hotel tax every day of the year, the citywide economic harm associated with higher housing costs are severe. According to San Francisco’s modelling, removing a single property from the market would have a total economic impact on the city’s economy of approximately –USD250,000 to –US$300,000 per year. This exceeds the annual total economic benefit from visitor spending and landlord income (and hotel taxes), given prevailing 2015 short-term rental rates.

Australia: “Airbnb’s most penetrated market” - 115,000 homes @ say US$275,000 per year…


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