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Online holiday home rentals cutting agents adrift

03 February 2015 Staff Reporter

The rapid growth of online holiday rental services has seen homeowners increasingly listing their properties on websites such as Airbnb.

With more than 30,000 homes listed on Airbnb, Australians are among the biggest users of the service.

According to Airbnb, this month Sydney overtook Amsterdam to be among the top 10 cities for Airbnb users worldwide, with more than 10,000 homes offered for holiday accommodation.

Sam McDonagh, Airbnb manager for Australia and New Zealand, expects the market to continue to grow, telling The Weekend Australian that given its current growth rate the number of local users is expected to double over the next year.

“More Australians are using Airbnb than ever before … and Australia remains one of our most exciting growth markets,” he said.

“People list their homes for all sorts of reasons. Many enjoy meeting people and sharing what’s great about their neighbourhood, while for others it’s about making a little extra money.

“You can chat with your host so you’re not meeting a stranger and you can leave reviews for each other after you stay.”

Also speaking to The Weekend Australia, Real Estate Institute of Australia president Neville Sanders said while there was no data available, the move to online had “great momentum”, although he didn’t believe it was “a significant part of the market”.

“My feeling is that all agents always recognise the absolute right of every landlord to do it themselves,” he said.

“We would like to think that agents offer a far higher level of service and experience, but they charge for the services, so that’s the trade-off for landlords.”

But the acting chief executive of Tourism Accommodation Australia, Carol Guiseppi, said she was concerned about “a lack of transparency”.

“There is no regulation around it at all in terms of safety … there is no understanding of the extent to which it is growing, it’s unlicensed,’’ she said.

Online holiday home rentals cutting agents adrift
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