Further calls to curb ‘disturbing’ dominance of Airbnb in holiday hotspots

Man pulling suitcase and entering room

There have been renewed calls to tighten short-let regulations in order to minimise the “disturbing” impact of Airbnb on the housing market as new analysis reveals some parts of the country now have one listing for every four properties.

A Guardian study identified short-let hot spots across the country where the ratio of Airbnb listings to homes was more than 20 times higher than the average across England, Scotland and Wales. Edinburgh Old Town had the highest volume of Airbnbs, with 29 active listings for every 100 properties.

The Scottish island of Skye had the second-highest concentration of short lets with a heavy cluster in the north-west where there are 25 listings per 100 properties.

Devon had the highest concentration of Airbnbs in England, with 23 listings for every 100 properties in Woolacombe, Georgeham and Croyde.

Windermere North, Ambleside and Langdales in the Lake District – where 30% of houses are already second homes –  has 19 listings per 100 properties. Local MP Tim Farron described the growth of Airbnb in the area as “a really disturbing issue”.

In response, Airbnb said unusual listings such as caravans or large manor houses that are more likely to be used for events than holiday homes, affected the results. These types of listings, the company said,  may not have an impact on local housing stock, adding some listings may be booked for only a few nights a year.

But Dan Wilson Craw, the director of housing pressure group Generation Rent said the growth of Airbnb was impacting communities by depriving them of much-needed homes.

“In rural areas and cities alike, the story is the same: young adults can’t afford to settle down in the areas they grew up in,” he told The Guardian.

The Guardian’s number crunching – which includes listings for homes, private rooms, shared rooms and entire apartments – found that across the whole of Britain, there were 0.8 Airbnb listings for every 100 homes.

Inside Airbnb, a non-commercial project that aims to highlight the impact of the service on residential housing markets, provided the listings data.

In a statement following the publication of the study, Airbnb said: “We want to be good partners to cities and work together on a clear and simple host registration system that works for everyone.”

In January the Scottish government announced plans to hand local authorities the power to bring in licensing schemes as part of measures introduced to compact concerns about the impact of short lets in cities such as Edinburgh.

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28th February 2020