Airbnbs, short-stay homes not to blame for Noosa housing shortage, affordable housing lobby group says

One of the most sought-after regions in the country has an estimated 10,000 properties locked up as short-stay accommodation and triple the number of people and families waiting for social housing, but a national affordable housing lobby group says holiday housing is not to blame.

A property agent whose firm manages more than 70 properties listed with Airbnb and other short-stay sites across the Sunshine Coast said the figures did not tell the full story.

The greater Sunshine Coast region, which includes Noosa, is among the most expensive in the country for essential workers, largely due to the high cost of rent.

Welcome Ready has been renting out short-stay homes across the Sunshine Coast for a decade, particularly at the more luxurious end of the market, and has 75 properties in its portfolio.

Some luxury homes are only available to lease for a few months of the year.(ABC Sunshine Coast: Owen Jacques)

Co-founder Melanie Harding said while not every property was the same, those managed by her company would not suddenly become permanent rentals if they were taken off the short-stay market.

“They’re owner-occupied homes, and the [owners are] going to come back,” she said.

“They move back in within a few months of travelling, or six to nine months depending on the circumstances.”

The average price of a rental property in Noosa Heads is now more than $1,100 a week.(ABC Sunshine Coast, Owen Jacques)

She said some homes were former resort units that were now being let as short-stays instead of hotel rooms, while others were waterfront mansions with rental prices far beyond the average weekly price.

Ms Harding said many of her clients would likely make more money from their property on the permanent rental market.

“It’s actually not more cost effective, owners can’t just earn more money [on the short-stay market],” she said.

More vacant homes, but crisis continues

According to rental data, the Noosa rental crisis appeared to be easing, and was recording one of the healthiest vacancy rates in the state.

And yet life was no better for those desperate to find long-term housing.

Welfare advocates say they are continuing to work with renters who may be forced to leave Noosa because there was so little chance of finding them a home.

St Vincent de Paul’s Beryl Rowan told the ABC in April that any vacant home in Noosa was likely out of reach for those needing a permanent rental.

Advocate ‘sceptical’ about short-stay impacts

Everybody’s Home is a national advocate for affordable housing that lobbies the federal government to increase housing stock across the country.

Spokeswoman Maiy Azize said she had “a little scepticism” that Airbnb and other short-stay platforms were having a major impact.

“What we see with these homes is that they’re often the types of places that would otherwise be holiday homes,” she said.

“They’re definitely not going to be affordable accommodation for the types of workers we looked at.”

The campaign’s “Priced Out” report found rents across the greater Sunshine Coast region, which included Noosa, were too high for most essential workers to survive.

“What we really need is more affordable housing, more affordable rentals,” she said.

“I’m not saying the Airbnb effect has no impact. There are parts of the country where it absolutely would be having an impact.”

Noosa Council strategic planner Rowena Skinner told a housing forum this year that residents should take steps to help those struggling to find a home.

She suggested they take in a boarder to monetise their home, rent out a granny flat, put a tiny home on their land, or convert their short-term holiday house to a permanent rental.

Article source: Queensland Property Investor