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Airbnb listings seeing increased revenue, more “Superhosts”

New data shows Aribnb is on the rise in Halifax, while vacancy rates continue at record lows

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This ghost hotel in the Hydrostone was built to be a nice place to visit, with three separate “entire home” units. - AIRNBNB
  • AIRNBNB
  • This ghost hotel in the Hydrostone was built to be a nice place to visit, with three separate “entire home” units.

Q New Airbnb statistics show a big increase in multiple-listing hosts in Halifax Regional Municipality since last year.

According to the data, entire-home listings continue to see the most bookings, and hosts who manage multiple units make half of all the revenue generated by the short-term accommodation site during the height of the summer season.

Multiple-listing hosts make up about 20 percent of all listings, but at the height of the summer season they made up to 56 percent of all host revenue generated through Airbnb. To find this information, data analyst Tom Slee created several charts and a heat map, generated by an algorithm he designed to collect data from Airbnb's site listings and reviews—since Airbnb doesn't openly share any data.

Neighbours Speak Up, a local group concerned about Airbnb's impact on neighbourhoods, raised the issue of "ghost hotels" to Halifax council in early July. Ghost hotels are purpose-built Airbnb properties for the sole purpose of year-round, less-than-30-day rentals, with no permanent residents. The group says there are about eight ghost hotels operating in the Hydrostone area today, and at least one of them was built to allow for three different Airbnb listings—essentially three flats—without a primary resident.

Slee's data dates back to June 2018. Since then, an average guest looking to book an Airbnb would increasingly find postings from hosts who manage multiple locations. About half of them belonged to hosts with multiple listings, which are often entire-home bookings.

Slee's data shows the lowest average price in the last year has been around $70 per night, while the top prices during tourist season range around $95 or more per night in HRM.

Multiple-listing hosts are often labelled "Superhosts" by Airbnb, a reward (and incentive) for offering safe, clean and reliable bookings—bookings that are typically overseen completely by third-party property managers. Companies like Over Sea Real Estate Management and others are commonly hired to handle bookings, accommodations and cleaning for hosts with multiple listings, making it easier for property owners to consider short-term renting as a revenue model.

Alongside increasing Airbnb revenues and volume of listings, housing insecurity is rising in HRM, with the long-term vacancy rate hovering at around one percent. People who want to live in Halifax are facing a landlord's market of rising rents and competition among renters for even low-quality apartments.

But as Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation senior analyst Kelvin Ndoro sees it, the rental market is thriving.

Ndoro says an influx of skilled immigrants and downsizing seniors are among the factors pushing new construction of high-quality apartments in Halifax. There is a lag, however, between constuction starting and new units being ready for tenants.

"Supply is growing, but not hitting the market fast enough," says Ndoro. "Neither affordable housing nor market-price housing is hitting the market fast enough."

As far as measuring the impact of Airbnb on rental supply, Ndora says there's currently no way to definitively track it.

The province is working on short-term rental regulations that will be a step toward measuring the impact, but will not directly address rental supply. Halifax Regional Council recently directed staff to look into the effects of Airbnb on the rental market.

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