Inside Airbnb: Dublin’s most lucrative rentals

Top property brings in €163,000 a year; 10 hosts earn over €100,000

Dublin’s biggest earner on Airbnb is a six-bed apartment in the south city centre that generates €163,495 a year. Its average daily rate is €651. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty

Dublin’s biggest earner on Airbnb is a six-bed apartment in the south city centre that generates €163,495 a year. Its average daily rate is €651. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty

 

More than 10 Airbnb hosts in Dublin are earning more than €100,000 a year – and the landlords’ combined income may be considerably higher if they let multiple properties through the service, as Airbnb increasingly moves into the realm of the professional property business.

According to AirDNA, a US-based company that analyses the global Airbnb market, Dublin’s biggest earner is a six-bed apartment in the south city centre that generates € 163,495 a year. Its average daily rate is €651, which implies occupancy at the average rate for 251 nights of the year. Another big earner is a seven-bedroom property in Drumcondra, on the northside, which brings in more than €150,000 a year, with an average daily rate of €653. A three-bed city-centre apartment is generating €135,583 a year, and a two-bed in Temple Bar is producing €131,164.

The figures, which reveal earnings rather than profits, are based on the number of bookings by the daily rate and shows how much more money can be made through the short-term market rather than through the long-term rental market – a property rented at a substantial €5,000 a month will still generate only €60,000 a year. Last week AirDNA revealed that a landlord in London made almost £12 million in one year through Airbnb, renting out 881 properties – the most made in revenue by any owner in the world in the past 12 months.

One host is raking in more than €280,000 a year from five properties it lets in Dublin’s docklands
City centre townhouse with a average daily rate of €585.
City centre townhouse with a average daily rate of €585.

The figures, which need to be treated slightly cautiously, as they are unofficial, reveal earnings far in excess of those disclosed by Airbnb, which said earlier this year that the annual earnings of a typical host in Dublin was €4,900.

Airsorted, a company that manages property on behalf of hosts, proclaims that “Airbnb Hosts can earn 60-100 per cent more than renting their home residentially”, and a survey from the estate agency Nested earlier this year found it would take more than 24 years to recoup the value of a property in Dublin by renting in the long-term market.

With Airbnb the value could be reclaimed in just seven years.

Professionalisation

The data provided to The Irish Times also reveals how the Airbnb model is becoming increasingly professionalised, as landlords move in to maximise gains.

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“Airbnb is no longer a community just for individuals renting out their space or properties on their own,” AirDNA’s chief executive, Scott Shatford, said.

Drumcondra Georgian house (seven bed) from €601 per night
Drumcondra Georgian house (seven bed) with an average daily rate of €653.

Globally, AirDNA estimates, management companies now account for 35 per cent of all listings on Airbnb, with the ratio shifting quickly towards them and away from individual landlords. Although AirDNA said it could not give such a breakdown for Dublin, as many management companies create a profile under a staff member’s name instead of the company name, it does indicate that about 780, or a quarter, of the hosts on the site operate several properties.

Of “professional” hosts, AirDNA said that 60 per cent operate multiple properties. Airbnb previously declined to indicate how many of its Dublin hosts offer more than one property.

One host is raking in more than €280,000 a year from five properties it lets in Dublin’s docklands, and potentially others, according to AirDNA figures. Another operates two of the biggest-earning properties in Dublin city centre, according to AirDNA, turning over more than €200,000 from the two properties alone.

City centre apartment with an average daily rate of €477.
City centre apartment with an average daily rate of €477.

Other hosts appear to be individuals letting their own homes but then crop up on several properties on the site. The “host” James, for example, of what Air DNA says is the top-earning property, with revenue of more than €160,000 a year, also hosts a three-bed property in the docklands, with annual earnings of €88,758.

Management companies

The picture is also confused by the number of host-management companies, such as Airsorted and Host Butlers, which don’t own the properties but allow owners to outsource the hosting functions, such as checking in and cleaning, to them. This has opened up the job market to would-be hosts.

Bmyguest, for example, an Irish-owned Airbnb property-management company, looks for people who live in the city centre, and work part-time or are studying, to effectively act as a host on the website, vetting and screening guests, accepting bookings, and answering any queries guests might have. The job requires people to be available between 9am and midnight seven days a week.

The average daily rate for an Airbnb letting in Dublin was $181.31, compared with $128.20 for a hotel room

Another professional operator is MyHolistay, which, according to its Facebook page, specialises in “high-end holiday lettings” in south Dublin city, and has a number of Airbnb listings, including a studio flat in Rathgar, while SuiteStayHere provides holiday apartments in the city centre and Salthill areas of Galway.

Three-bed house in Ranelagh with an average daily rate of €462.
Three-bed house in Ranelagh with an average daily rate of €462.

Airbnb says: “The vast majority of hosts on Airbnb are regular people who share their homes – typically their greatest expense – to boost their income and support their families. The Airbnb model is unique and empowers regular people, boosts local communities and is subject to local tax. It also makes Airbnb fundamentally different to companies that take large sums of money out of the places they do business.”

According to AirDNA, Dublin now has about 5,500 Airbnb listings, up from the 2,511 properties listed in September 2015. Fifty-five per cent of today’s Dublin listings are for entire properties, 43 per cent are for private rooms, and 2 per cent are for shared rooms. Occupancy rates are high: in September 2015, of the 5,521 available listings, 4,988 were booked. AirDNA gives an occupancy rate of 71 per cent for an entire property listed on Airbnb in Dublin, compared with a comparable hotel rate of 75 per cent.

Airbnb v hotels

AirDNA has a useful insight into how Airbnb compares with traditional hotels. The Revpar – or revenue per available room – for an entire Airbnb letting was $129.23 in October 2017, compared with $96.10 for a hotel room.

The average daily rate for an Airbnb letting in Dublin was $181.31, compared with $128.20 for a hotel room. September was the month that achieved the highest Revpar on Airbnb in Dublin; December and January were the lowest months.