Airbnb rise hits rental market
AN INCREASE in Airbnb homes in the Douglas Shire is reducing the number of permanent rentals on the market and driving up property prices.
A University of Sydney study revealed that at least one in 10 properties in Douglas Shire is listed on online rental platforms, while the number of Airbnb rentals across the state doubles in the past 18 months.
Mossman and Port Douglas Raine and Horne director David Cotton said there had been an increase in people buying properties to renovate and rent out specifically for the Airbnb market.
“Which is taking permanent rental properties off the market … so it’s driving prices up,” he said.
Over the past year Mr Cotton said there had been a 10 to 20 per cent increase in rental prices in the region.
“Which in turn is giving owners of properties a higher yield … and is driving property prices up,” he added.
The lack of permanent rental prices may have an adverse impact on the region’s cornerstone industries such as hospitality and tourism, especially during peak season.
“I’ve heard stories where chefs and waiters and staff on the boats … if they can’t find accommodation they obviously can’t live here so they move on,” he said.
“And if they can’t get staff to service the customers during the season … we certainly saw it last year when people left town because they couldn’t find accommodation.”
Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree executive officer Tara Bennett said people were turning to short term rentals because they wanted higher returns on their investment properties.
“The nightly rates are much higher than long term rentals with a number of additional costs that needed to be factored in when people make the move from long to short term rentals,” she said.
“Airbnb is a great option for travellers looking for a different style of accommodation away from traditional hotels. The growth in this sector has presented a huge opportunity for the accommodation sector in the Daintree with a large number of holiday home now enjoying far greater exposure through these sites.”
Ms Bennett agreed that a drawback to the Airbnb phenomenon, especially in small communities like Douglas Shire was the reduction in affordable accommodation for the community and seasonal workers.
But Mr Cotton said as more Airbnb properties flood the region the market will become tougher forcing competitive prices.
“Especially if some people are not getting the occupancy levels they want,” he said.