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QLD review into AirBnB finds ‘limited’ impact on rental affordability

Surprising results from the government review on whether short-term rentals like Airbnb and Stayz are affecting the tight rental market

A state government review of the short-term rental market in Queensland has examined the impact of short-term rentals on housing affordability and availability, with some surprising results. 

According to the review conducted by the University of Queensland, as of the first quarter of 2023, Queensland had around 19,773 active short-term rentals.  Of these, approximately 11,193 are estimated to be used on a permanent basis and about two-thirds of these rentals are concentrated within the South East region.

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The review highlighted that short-term rentals are most prevalent in high-tourism coastal areas, including Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Noosa, Douglas, Whitsunday, Cairns, Moreton Bay, and Townsville. However, despite common misconceptions, the review found that short-term rentals have a limited impact on rental affordability. 

In fact, an increase of 10 percent in the total number of short-term rental listings could lead to rent price changes of 0.2 percent to 0.5 percent. 

Instead, the study found that the major driving force behind rental price increases appears to be the availability of dwelling stocks. Notably, a 10 percent increase in the overall stock of dwellings could lead to a decrease in rent prices of 1 to 2 percent. 

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the government had sought the review to ensure they had a clearer picture of whether short-term rentals like Airbnb and Stayz are affecting the tight rental market.

“It is no surprise that the review revealed short-term rentals are most prevalent in high tourism areas,” he said.

“The review found no clear alignment between the suburbs with the highest rent increases and the percentage of dwellings devoted to short-term rental. Instead, dwelling stocks emerged as the significant contributor to explaining rental prices.”

The next step for the state government is to seek input from the Short Term Residential Accommodation Industry Reference Group and the LGAQ on the review’s recommendations. 

Significantly, they are exploring the possibility of implementing a short-term rental registration system. 

“A one-size-fits-all solution could miss the mark in addressing local challenges,” Dr Miles said.

“We have committed to looking into the implementation of a short-term rental registration system, which is a key recommendation of the review.

“A registration system could serve as a tool to support local governments in monitoring short term rental activity and could provide invaluable insights into its impact on our housing market over time, to inform evidence-based regulation.”

In a statement, the Short Term Accommodation Association Australia (STAAA) said they were: “fully supportive of engaging constructively and collaboratively with policymakers to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.”

“We are committed to promoting responsible hosting practices, enhancing tourism experiences and supporting the sustainable growth of our industry.”

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9 months ago

Of course the devil is in the detail and how questions are asked and framed. On the brief numbers presented, short term rental properties are taking around 11,000 properties out of the rental market in QLD alone. That, by definition, is impacting on the supply side. How that impacts on rental rates is up for debate but it certainly wont be putting downwards pressure on them. Any review obviously needs to be mutlivariable before conclusions can be clearly reached. Any univariant assumptions must be approached with extreme caution.

It is a bit like the government saying the housing crisis is due to lack of supply, but failing to acknowledge all time record high immigration levels and the fact that immigration is only going to put pressure on demand.

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