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A month ago we wrote of 135 NSW property agents who had 258 homes in total advertised for renters; they also had 42,532 holiday rentals advertised. At the time, the lack of response from Media was, well, deafening. This same message has however bounced around to some 24,000 people on social media. Two days ago we noted the headline: “New York Now Has More Airbnb Listings Than Apartments for Rent.” To quote journalist Kim Velsey: “There are just so few apartments to be had that Airbnbs make up the majority of the city’s available rentals.”

Leith van Onselen, Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super, and Chief Economist and co-founder of MacroBusiness, has picked up on the New York article. He writes Airbnb is behind Australia’s rental crisis and notes that a quick look at listings across Sydney shows there are 20,891 Airbnb rentals. (This figure is from 09 March 2022 InsideAirbnb.). SQM Research shows there are currently only 12,758 rental vacancies across Sydney:

“Australia’s rental crisis continues to worsen, with SQM Research recording a surge in asking rents amid tight vacancies.”

We’ve been targeted by trolls for searching rental vacancies across areas and comparing these figures with holiday rentals listed by local agents and Airbnb. Some of our physical searches have produced the following ‘availability’ numbers – which we now compare with SQM Research data:

Shoalhaven 3,311 Airbnb Listings

(12/5/22) 1,774 Agency Holiday Rentals

114 Residential Rentals.

(155 Residential Rentals – SQM Research)

Byron Bay 3,313 Airbnb Listings

(08/5/22) 999 Agency Holiday Rentals

55 Residential Rentals

(43 Residential Rentals – SQM Research)

Country manager for Australia and New Zealand, Airbnb’s Susan Wheeldon, told the ABC: “In a survey of Australian Hosts on Airbnb in 2021 a third of respondents said the primary reason they started hosting was to ‘make ends meet’. In turn, these Hosts help drive economic growth and job creation, with many local businesses relying on the valuable tourism dollars spent by Airbnb guests.” Not so, according to Shoalhaven’s Mayor Amanda Findley. Ms Findley told the ABC (18/05/22): “What I’ve noticed the most, is that more and more homes are being bought for business purposes to be renting out on the short-term rental market (making people homeless and hollowing out communities). Because there’s not people living from Monday to Sunday, that the services pack up and go because there’s not a permanent population.” Councils want the State Government to introduce ‘bed taxes’ and create zones for short-term stays in order to give renters a chance.

The irony: in the corridors of the NSW Parliament, a senior staffer at Shoalhaven Council recommended to representatives from Expedia/Stayz and HIRA (Australian Short-Term Rental Association) that they lobby State Government to alter the State Environmental Planning Policy, making commercial short-term holiday rentals ‘exempt’ and ‘complying development’. Rob Stokes MP granted their wish with his 2021 SEPP.

A UN Committee has found the Netherlands in violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Dutch government has been directed to step up efforts to address and prevent family homelessness – see attached. Time for us to flag this issue with the UN?

Surely Rob Stokes’ SEPP must be rescinded; Councils must be mandated to enforce residential zoning – this would trigger a major correction in the rental market. And with the major push to reboot mass immigration to provide staffing for those in dire search of employees…without a very substantial return of housing to the rental market, a dire situation is about to get so much worse.


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