Short-term rental accommodation is increasing in Queensland’s coastal regions, according to a new study.
Short-term rental accommodation is increasing in Queensland’s coastal regions, according to a new study.

Queensland hit by Airbnb juggernaut

QUEENSLAND'S Airbnb listings have doubled in just 18 months, with more than 13 per cent of all housing in one of the state's key holiday hotspots now short-term rental accommodation.

A study by researchers at the University of Sydney has found at least one in 10 properties in Douglas Shire in the state's north are now listed on online rental platforms.

The report also found that in just over 18 months - from April 2016 to December 2017 - the number of Airbnb listings doubled in Queensland.

About 0.2 per cent of housing stock across the country - 130,000 properties - was listed as holiday rental accommodation since Airbnb launched in 2011.

But that rate surges to a median of 4 per cent of all housing in coastal areas.

On the Sunshine Coast, short-term rentals make up 2.1 per cent of all housing and 0.3 per cent of all properties in the Moreton Bay region are advertised on Airbnb.

In Byron Bay, short-term lets as a proportion of the total number of properties was found to be more than 17 per cent.

The University of Sydney report concluded that could create a problem for those looking to find traditional, long-term rental properties.

"Holiday homes are part of the character of coastal towns and there is no dispute that online rental platforms have created new tourism opportunities in coastal areas," the report said. "However, in some communities the rapid growth in listings has emerged as a major challenge with potentially serious consequences."

Port Douglas' wharf in Douglas Shire. Photo: Ross Walker.
Port Douglas' wharf in Douglas Shire. Photo: Ross Walker.

The study, commissioned by the Australian Coastal Councils Association, found planning processes were inadequate in the face of surging popularity for informal holiday letting because rules were unclear and difficult to enforce.

Australian Coastal Councils Association chairman Barry Sammels said the longstanding planning and management practices of many coastal councils had not kept pace with the changes occurring in the holiday rental market.

Barry Sammels, chair of the Australian Coastal Councils Association. Picture: Richard Hatherly.
Barry Sammels, chair of the Australian Coastal Councils Association. Picture: Richard Hatherly.

Mr Sammels said some of the 12 councils that took part in the study also reported an increase in resident complaints and other disruptions caused by visitors staying in short-term holiday rentals.

"Some permanent residents felt their community had been invaded by tourism and spoke of the stress involved in not knowing when a new party of visitors was likely to arrive next door and how they were going to behave within residential neighbourhoods," Mr Sammels said.

In the Moreton Bay region, for example, the report found the council received complaints on a weekly basis about noise, parking and traffic movements associated with large, holiday rentals.

However, hosted accommodation - rooms or self contained units - was also seen to provide

opportunities for local residents to gain additional income, without generating amenity issues.

A man jogging as the sun sets at Woody Point in Redcliffe, in the Moreton Bay region, which has seen a rise in short-term rental accommodation listings. Image: AAP/Darren England.
A man jogging as the sun sets at Woody Point in Redcliffe, in the Moreton Bay region, which has seen a rise in short-term rental accommodation listings. Image: AAP/Darren England.

There are now 28,900 Airbnb listings in Queensland and a typical host in the state earned $5300 in additional income last year.

University of Sydney chair of urban and regional planning and policy professor Nicole Gurran said holiday home-sharing via online platforms had a particular significance for coastal communities where tourism formed an integral part of the local economy.

"Getting the right planning and regulatory framework in place to manage short-term rentals in the digital era is critical to the economic and social sustainability of these communities," Professor Gurran said.

Airbnb host Jay Pais has more than five properties listed for short-term rental, including in the Moreton Bay region.

Ms Pais said she was not surprised there had been a rise in listings in the region given its growing population.

She said she had not received any complaints from neighbours recently as she screened her guests and had a strict policy around noise and house rules.

"However, recently we have faced some abstract views from Moreton Bay Council, stating that you cannot rent a property out for less than 90 days on a short term lease," she said.

"But the Rental Tenancies Authority says you only need a 'lease agreement' if the property is leased out for more than six weeks.

"There is so much conflicting information out there (in Queensland) and councils do need to work with property owners to update MBRC rules around short term accommodation."

TOP 5 DESTINATIONS FOR AIRBNB STAYS IN QLD

 

1. Brisbane

2. Gold Coast

3. Cairns

4. Surfers Paradise

5. Noosa

 

(Source: Airbnb, 2015-2016)

Professor Nicole Gurran, chair of urban and regional planning and policy at University of Sydney.
Professor Nicole Gurran, chair of urban and regional planning and policy at University of Sydney.