AirBnb Goes Beyond The Pale.

In Blog, Politics by Patrick McCusker1 Comment

Above: Could AirBnb be ruining a rental market near you?


 

The Government has recently seen fit to admit AirBnb is a massive problem with regards to the housing crisis. However, Eoghan Murphy has already claimed that any regulations will probably only apply to Dublin – this is even more shortsighted than you’d think. Patrick McCusker got looking at the facts to explore just how bad an influence AirBnb really is having outside Dublin.

As you’ve probably seen, short-term tourist rentals in Dublin actually overtook long-term rental lets for the first time recently. Coincidentally, regulations are a lot more lenient for tourists than long-term tenants. Coincidentally, regulations are lot more lenient for those to let to tourists rather than tenants.

The government has, not before time, formed a committee to review what, if any, restrictions are to be placed on the problem of tourists sleeping in apartments whilst families sleep in hotels. 

However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves by thinking that any report will be a first step to stopping landlords buying entire apartment blocks for the benefit of English stag parties. Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has already admitted any regulations will most likely only apply to Dublin. 

Such thinking ignores that whilst the drastic shortage of housing supply exacerbated by AirBnb is most dramatically felt in Dublin, the problems of short-term letting are genuinely national ones. Pretty much any urban area which attracts a decent amount of tourists has been experiencing the same drastic rent hikes as Dublin over the last few years.

Take the case of Galway city, where the numbers of inbound visitors using AirBnb grew by 73% last year. There are a whopping 306 properties listed on AirBnb as of the 13th June – almost three times the number available on daft.ie at 106. Many of these are entire apartments or even houses that’ve been put on the tourist market. Over the last year, the average rent has increased by 13.6% – only Dublin city centre had higher increases. Even allowing for Galway’s huge transient population of students who’re currently at home, AirBnb is demonstrably taking a large swathe of the rental properties out of the market.

This scenario is repeated in Cork city, where average rents have increased by 9.3% in the last year. Once again, more than 300 properites are listed on AirBnb as opposed to 131 listed on daft.ie. 

Neither of these examples would seem so serious if they weren’t coinciding with huge shortages in overall supply. A mere 700 properties were available on the long-term rental market in all of Munster via daft.ie in the first quarter of 2018 – a fall of 20% from the same time last year. This is mirrored by similiar falls in Leinster (outside Dublin) and Connacht/Ulster, where there were 30% fewer properties available than this time last year.

Is it harsh to suggest that the 63% national increase in AirBnb usage over 2017 might have something to do with this? AirBnb’s impact may be most visible in Dublin, but landlords abusing the service to make a fortune from unsuspecting tourists is rapidly becoming a national phenomenon – it’s use increased by as much as 101% in the North-West region, where the beauty of Donegal and Sligo attracts quite a lot of tourists.

There was only one county (Donegal) where rents didn’t increase last year. daft.ie‘s annual report shows that supply shortage is a genuinely national crisis – and AirBnb’s own statistics show that it has grown exponentially everywhere.

Applying AirBnb restrictions just to Dublin would be a merely token gesture. Just as the housing crisis is genuinely national, so too are the problems of supply such as unregulated AirBnb letting that created it in the first place.

Doing otherwise would just see even more of Ireland converted into a playground for tourists.

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