Short-term rentals are rapidly eating into overall supply – study

by Ephraim Vecina24 Jun 2019

Airbnb’s short-term rentals play a significant role in Canada’s housing supply shortage, as it makes tens of thousands of homes unavailable for occupancy.

According to a new study by McGill University researchers, more than 31,000 homes across Canada cannot be considered part of 2018’s long-term rental supply. This is because they were used for Airbnb rental so frequently last year that they have been inaccessible for any other purpose.

The figure has been considered by the researchers to be greater than that needed to house everyone in North Vancouver, and is equivalent to around 1.5% of the total purpose-built rental units nationwide.

Over the last few years, the popularity of the short-term rental model has accompanied the growth in housing and commodity costs.

“When you offer your place as a short-term rental, you have more control over it, you can use it for yourself whenever you want, [and] it makes more money,” according to Dany Papineau, who operates four listings at two co-owned assets situated in Montreal and in the Eastern Townships.

“Personally, I’m not interested in doing long-term rentals at all,” he told The Globe and Mail.

On average, Airbnb had around 128,000 active Canadian listings daily in 2018. This represented 25% annual growth, and led to $1.8 billion in total host revenue last year, up by 40% from 2017’s level.

“Many people believe that they interact with these services mainly as guests,” McGill professor and report co-author David Wachsmuth stated.

“What my research has been showing is that, actually, we interact with short-term rentals every day of our lives in a different way – they’re having rather large impacts on our housing markets.”

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