AIRBNB OPERATIVES SEEKING LONG-TERM TENANTS…FOR NOW
From the ABC to property and urban development professionals, all are reporting how a microorganism is dismantling Airbnb and asking will the platform ever recover. Real Estate Agents and Industry insiders note the flood of residential dwellings being returned to the long-term rental market that, together with other factors, is seeing a shift downwards in rental prices. This must surely be welcome news to the likes of the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) and others who work tirelessly on the depths of Australia’s housing affordability crisis. But to return to the question of short-term renters’ game plan, perhaps it is best to consider Airbnb’s status before the COVID-19 pandemic – valued at USD31 billion – and the actions and statements online of Airbnb’s short-term rental landlords: they are vowing to return. “In order to increase (their) industry profile and continue looking after the interests of owners and managers in the STRA industry” (not mums and dads home sharing hey?) the Australian Short-Term Rental Accommodation association (“ASTRA - here to stay”) is offering free membership until end of September 2020 in order to boost its numbers and lobbying presence. And NSW Ministerial Diary Disclosures have State MP for Tweed and Airbnb supporter Geoff Provest – “short-term rentals are here to stay” – again visiting the Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation “to discuss short term holiday letting”.
In terms of NSW Fair Trading’s proposal that strata lot owners go chasing a by-law to rein in a handful of Airbnbs, ASTRA Board Member Joan Bird is reassuring her cohort including those with 75 Airbnb listings: “to get a 75% veto against STRA, particularly in large complexes, with the new strata voting rules is going to be difficult…It has always been proposed to limit STRA in Greater Sydney to 180 days…180 days is every weekend and school holidays.” (Elsewhere in NSW, short-term rentals will be permitted 365 days per year.)
The Coronavirus Pandemic is also frustrating expats and others unable to sell residential property to avoid large capital gains tax bills (ABC). Well-known Central Coast short-term rental promoter Donat Kobeleff and wife Deborah’s Airbnb is still languishing on the property market. Zoned Residential and reportedly last sold in September 1998 for $890,000, in December 2019 it was advertised for sale at $4.8 million. In March the price had dropped to $4.5 million, and today it is still advertised for sale: “Expressions of Interest” – no price indicated. On the Airbnb platform the property appears as available for rent this weekend - $2,541.65 for the two-night stay (see photo).
In terms of Airbnb/Stayz/ASTRA landlords currently seeking long-term tenants and being satisfied with the transition, as one ‘unidentified’ short-term rental agitator writes: “When borders, restaurants, theatres and sports arenas re-open, we will return to our very successful short-stay program. Fact will always remain. The demand for short-stay accommodation will again increase after COVID 19 and this public demand will drive market supply whether thats (sic) Airbnb or another platform. Keep dancing…”