Airbnb makes tens of thousands of homes unavailable for rent – report

Short-term rentals are making a significant proportion of homes unavailable for occupancy

Airbnb makes tens of thousands of homes unavailable for rent – report

More than 31,000 homes across Canada were used for rental so frequently via Airbnb last year that they have likely become unavailable as part of long-term rental supply, McGill University researchers announced.

The figure is equivalent to approximately 1.5% of Canada’s purpose-built rental housing, and has been said by the researchers’ report to be more than enough units for everyone in North Vancouver.

On a day-to-day average, Airbnb had around 128,000 active listings in Canada. This represented 25% growth from 2017, and drew in $1.8 billion in total host earnings last year, up 40% annually.

Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver together had $710 million in revenue (up 27% annually) last year. These markets hosted fully 40% of the 31,000 homes that were frequently rented in 2018, and represented nearly half of Canada’s average daily listings during that year.

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

“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.”

The short-term set-up has grown in popularity over the past few years, accompanying an upward trend of housing and commodity cost growth.

“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 added.

Airbnb disputed the results of the report, saying that they are nowhere near being an accurate assessment of the situation as they are culled only from Airbnb’s figures published online.

Moreover, the researchers would be unable to determine if an Airbnb unit is being occupied by the owner or someone else when it becomes unavailable for bookings.

“We don’t agree with the validity of that number,” Airbnb Canada director of public policy Alex Dagg said. “[They have] no way of knowing those houses or those units would ever be on the long-term rental market,” she said.