Airbnb doubles rental income
A decision to try Airbnb instead of a traditional rental arrangement has allowed Hawke’s Bay woman Emma Hagen to double the money she earns from a cottage on her property.
Hagen owns a lifestyle block in Longlands, on the outskirts of Hastings. As well as the main house, it has a two-bedroom, onebathroom self-contained cottage that can accommodate up to four guests.
Originally, it was let for $290 a week to long-term tenants. But when the most recent tenancy ended, Hagen decided it was time to try something different. ‘‘I thought ‘how am I going to replace them when they were such nice tenants?’ And I thought about Airbnb.’’
That was in June. Since then, the cottage has had an 80 per cent occupancy rate via Airbnb, at a base rate of $80 a night for two people – with an added $20 a night for any extra people staying. There is also a $40 cleaning fee. During the Christmas and New Year period, Airbnb hiked the rate in response to a shortage of accommodation.
‘‘Airbnb has an algorithm to say what else is available in the area and they ramped it up pretty high.’’
Over January, she cleared $4000. Hagen said that where she might previously have earned $15,000 in rental income over a year, she could double her money with Airbnb.
She would not go back to a traditional rental arrangement, unless there was a clampdown that limited the number of nights properties could be let on Airbnb. ‘‘It’s worked out for us because we have the property with the cottage that’s surplus to requirements. It’s been a real cashflow bonus.’’
Hagen owns four other rental properties in Flaxmere, but they are not suitable for Airbnb.
There is work involved in letting via Airbnb – Hagen estimates she spends an hour cleaning and preparing the property each time the tenants change.
‘‘But it’s literally 10 metres from our house so I can pop back and forth. It’s so easy for me. I do the cleaning myself and it’s not what I want to be doing but I think about my hourly rate and that’s pretty good.’’
The current tenants are staying five nights and paying $700. ‘‘I don’t mind doing a one-hour clean for that.’’
Hagen and her partner own a gourmet food shop, and kit out the cottage with treats for guests.
Trade Me data shows pressure on the Hawke’s Bay rental market – the average asking rent is up 11.8 per cent compared to a year earlier.
‘‘It's worked out for us because we have the property with the cottage ... It's been a real cashflow bonus.’’
Emma Hagen The cottage on Emma Hagen’s lifestyle property.
Emma Hagen and partner Bart.