From Long-Term Lets to Short-Term Lets: Is Airbnb becoming the new buy-to-let?

by | Aug 24, 2017 | Housing Supply & Rents, Reports

Homes are no longer being used for long term accommodation. With the rise of the sharing economy, increasing world-wide tourism and technological revolution, people are using homes to provide accommodation to millions of tourists globally every year. In London alone, the number of listings on Airbnb has grown by 60% in just over 12 months to over 53,000 listings.

This research builds upon our previous research reports and seeks to examine how the sharing economy has changed over the past 12 months. This report discusses the findings from a survey of 1,463 landlords, which examines firstly, tenant sub-letting on online platforms without permission, and secondly, investigates landlords changing their letting strategy from long term lets to short term lets. This report then analyses the latest secondary data available on Airbnb listings in London from InsideAirbnb. This enables key trends in short term lets to be mapped out and empower wider discussion on the issues arising from the growth in the sharing economy.

The number of entire home/apartment listed on Airbnb has increased by 54% in over 12 months, with an 8% increase in the number of these listings that are available for over 90 nights per year. This is now a potential 12,213 homes unavailable for families to rent for the long term.

The analysis of the secondary data also demonstrates the growing professionalisation of the sharing economy with the significant (75%) growth in the number of multi-listings on Airbnb. This finding suggests that more professionals are turning to Airbnb rather than home-owners looking to let out a spare room. The findings of the survey provide further evidence to support this argument. 7% of landlords are now moving properties from long term lets to short term lets. With over 1 in 3 landlords reporting this was due to the changes in Mortgage Interest Relief.

It is incomprehensible that the government is encouraging short term lets through tax breaks while removing support for landlords who provide homes for the long term. The government needs to reconsider this policy change if it wants to meet the further 1.8 million homes needed to rent by 2025. Without change supply in the private rented sector is going to dwindle and put pressure on families through increased rents. While there is no issue with home-owners or tenants (with permission) to use Airbnb for the short term when they are away, there needs to be a debate on the shift from long-term to short term lets. If this continues families, workers and young people will be prevented from accessing affordable properties to rent in the future.