Pandemic reveals impact of Airbnb on Irish rental market

Daft.ie report points to jump in rental supply as short-term tourist market dries up

It took a pandemic to lay bare the impact of Airbnb on the State’s rental market. For years we’ve had the hollowing out of rental supply combined with soaring rents. In Dublin, average monthly rents are now just over €2,000, having risen 104 per cent since the 2011 low.

With house price inflation moderating and sale prices out of reach for many on low, middle and even high incomes, experts said demand pressure had switched from the sales market to the rental market.

But there was another factor, an aggravating factor, that nobody was talking about. Short-term listing sites like Airbnb had sucked thousands of properties out of the traditional long-term rental market as landlords chased lucrative tourist lets.

Pre-Covid there were more than 5,000 homes in Dublin available to tourists via Airbnb alone. This in the midst of a housing emergency with low-income families stuck in temporary accommodation such as hotels waiting for social housing, and many workers in their 30s forced to live with their parents.

However, since the onset of the coronavirus crisis the tourist leasing market has dried up, and landlords in the sector have reverted to advertising their properties on sites like Daft.ie

The website’s latest monthly report on the Irish housing sector makes for interesting reading. It said the number of homes available for sale at the beginning of August fell to its lowest level in 14 years – there were just 19,538 properties for sale nationwide on August 1st, down 22 per cent year-on-year. This was the lowest August total recorded since 2006.

In contrast, availability in the rental market has bounced, with 41 per cent more properties for rent nationally and 92 per cent more in Dublin.

In Dublin availability was almost double what it was a year ago, with nearly 3,000 homes on the rental market on August 1st compared to fewer than 1,600 in August 2019, Daft.ie said.

The figures reveal the huge footprint platforms like Airbnb are having on the State’s housing market.