The Irish Times reports that around one-third of Irish Airbnb hosts were renting out second houses to the 1.2 million overseas guests visiting Ireland last year.
The practice, which has been common in England, is controversial as it takes housing stock from the private rental sector (PRS), especially in areas of high demand such as London and the south east.
In 2016, landlords letting through Airbnb earned almost doubled the return they could have received for the average long-term letting in Dublin, many earning up to €3,500 a year.
Airbnb has come in for criticism across the world for not “weeding out” those landlords who are renting their properties through the website, and other websites such as Gumtree, for short periods, without the necessary planning permission, and in some case in breach of their leases.
In its first Irish “insights” report*, Airbnb says there were 8,500 active listings for spare rooms and entire homes in Dublin, with a typical Irish host earning €3,500 a year.
Airbnb said that the number of guests coming to Ireland increased by 63 per cent in the past year, generating €506 million in “economic activity”. There are now said to be at least 400 listings in every region in Ireland. Around 70 per cent of hosts rent their primary home or rooms in their primary home through Airbnb, leaving the other 30% that letting second homes.
The report says that that 85 per cent of guests use its service as they “want to live like a local”. Airbnb claims that their service was used by 676,000 Irish people last year, an increase of 98 per cent. About 20 per cent of those used the service in Ireland.
Of the 22,800 listings nationwide, 51 per cent of those were for an entire home and 48 per cent for a private room. About 1 per cent of listings were for “shared rooms”. Airbnb says that the average number of nights rented out a year by a host was 37.
Statistics quoted by the Irish times, published in December by Airdna, a data analytics company, claims that almost 5,000 whole properties were being let across the republic for up to €800 a night. Trinity College Dublin are said to have earned €172,000 through short-term lettings in one year, and at least a dozen landlords were identified as earning more than €100,000 a year renting out homes through the site.
The Irish Department of Housing is using Airbnb as a focus for regulatory proposals to put a limit on the number of nights for short-term letting of flats, to 60 nights a year.
London has applied a 90-days per year limit to properties that are let short-term since 2016. In Amsterdam that is 60-days per year, and homeowners in Berlin have been banned completely from letting out whole properties to tourists, in order to keep standard let rents affordable.
*Here is the equivalent report for the UK: Airbnb UK Insights Report: Bringing You Home Sharing Region by Region