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Yesterday, US short-term rental giant Expedia Group, under the flag of VRBO, announced their 2021 Stayz ‘Best Holiday Homes in Australia’. Quicker than a speeding bullet, Airbnb presented its ‘Meet the Finalists’ so one could ‘explore top Hosts, listings and Experiences across the country’. And perhaps to squash any media mileage gifted to Stayz, within 24 hours Airbnb Inc whipped up their list of winners! Careful to maintain their fib of ‘Moms and Pops’ earning a few dollars, missing are the likes of ‘Rebecca’ with 280 homes listed (down from a high 338), or ‘Sabrina’ and her 72 listings (down from about 280 earlier listings) – their reduced numbers most probably due to current Covid-19 travel restrictions.

A far more ‘polished’ presentation from Airbnb has photogenic winners like Kate, ‘sharing’ an historic home passed down from a “great, great grandfather” – plus a separate listing for a ‘Viscount Royal Caravan on historic property’. There’s also Lauren’s West Hobart Airbnb, a hotel for 2 people and enjoying top billing last year in Qantas’ Travel Insider – ah…Slow Beam. A Luxury off grid eco hut for two in Mudgee also scoops an award, one of two ‘entire home’ listings offered by these Airbnb ‘super hosts’. And a Queensland Grain Shed Retreat wins ‘best regional stay’. Finalists who missed out include an off grid cabin in Burringbar, NSW.

Professor Cameron Murray from the University of Sydney’s School of Architecture, Design and Planning, tweeted today his housing prediction for the 2021 census: “The share of private dwellings unoccupied will reach a record high of roughly 12.5% (up from 4.8% in 2001).” Yes, think of all those vacant holiday rentals which could be occupied by NSW tenants.

Ray White Real Estate in Batemans Bay is advertising: “Turn your holiday home or Airbnb into a permanent rental today!” They currently have two homes listed for residential leases. Another website has 192 holiday rentals in the same local government area. Plus Stayz has 800 homes; we don’t have figures for Airbnb and other platforms.

According to today’s Domain (Sydney Morning Herald), ‘Essential workers face rental stress right across Sydney’. Tenants’ Union of NSW chief executive is quoted: “…unaffordable rents had seen Sydneysiders compromise on the location and quality of their housing and had left more people in overcrowded homes.” One remembers sharply the Union’s submission to State Parliament – Belong Anywhere - “acknowledging the impact the growth in short term letting has had on communities in other parts of the world, but from our investigation the same does not appear to be true here…there is actually not yet so much activity on Airbnb that would impact the private rental market…we do not believe those using Airbnb or other sites…are having any meaningful impact on housing supply or skewing local markets.”

In yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald, the head of the peak body representing real estate agents in NSW condemned the regulator’s decision not to investigate suggestions disgraced MP Daryl Maguire potentially broke the law by receiving windfalls on real estate deals without a licence”. Real Estate Institute of NSW chief executive Tim McKibbin said it was ‘breathtaking” that Fair Trading had shelved the matter after its own staff raised the possibility that Mr Maguire had acted unlawfully. “Nowhere in the Property and Stock Agents Act does it say it’s okay to break the law provided no one complains,” Mr McKibbin said. The same Tim McKibbin told a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the Adequacy of Legislation covering short-term rentals he could not see any difference between residential tenancies and the short-term rental of housing for tourist/holiday purposes: “I cannot see the difference between the two activities.” One of our friends wrote today: “Funny how the REINSW had no problems with their agents listing Airbnbs with no development approval. The corruption gives me the sh$ts (sic).

Facebook repeatedly warns that we are supposedly in breach of their Community Standards, yet they permit trolls to access our posts despite us using the Facebook app to block such activity. (See photo.) Not happy Facebook!

Time and again the behaviour we witness in NSW, when it comes to the monetisation of housing, can only be described as ignominious.

#Right2Housing Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits Neighbours not Strangers


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