Are Property Investors Turning Their Back On Airbnb?

Are short-term rentals in Owners Corporations falling out of favour?

As state governments across Australia contemplate new ways to manage and regulate Airbnb in apartment communities, property investors may be voting with their feet.

While Owners Corporations seek greater control about the use and nature of short-term leasing within their buildings and communities, property investors who use the short-term rental platform are starting to move back to long-term leasing.

Domain.com.au published a report last month looking at recent trends in the short-term rental space, finding more and more property investors who had used Airbnb and similar platforms were becoming increasingly frustrated with the nature of their leases.

With greater hands-on management required, less profits and an increasingly saturated short-term rental market, many feel long-term leasing may offer a more secure return on investment, with fewer headaches.

Domain spoke to Talia Besser, who started in the real estate industry by managing her father’s two investment units on Airbnb.

She said that while it was initially enjoyable, managing the short-term occupants, booking cleaners and organising keys became more trouble than it was worth.

“I think the first two to three months I found it fun,” she said. “Unless you’re going to do it full time and you have all the time in the world, it’s not worthwhile.”

“There are those periods in winter where people weren’t coming to Melbourne, and we’d have them empty for weeks at a time.

“I know my family won’t do it again, but it’s not to say others wouldn’t return to it.”

Airbnb listings continue to increase, in fact there was an 18 per cent increase in listings for entire homes on Airbnb from the end of 2016 and 2017.

However, industry sentiment suggests that while many investors purchase properties with the intent of listing on short-term rental platforms, they find soon after how much work and costs is involved in maintaining a profitable listing.

“Buyers are still interested in buying in that capacity, but very early in the set-up they find it was more than they were expecting,” Harcourts Melbourne City director Dionne Wilson told Domain.

“A lot of the properties we were selling we had people buying them to turn them into Airbnbs,” she said. “We were losing a few [rental] managements to Airbnb but a lot have since come back to us.”

You can read more about the ongoing Airbnb/short-term rental in Owners Corporations saga in our dedicated section HERE.

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