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Short-term rentals not behind housing crisis

A real estate expert that specialises in short-term holiday rentals has said banning them would not solve the nation’s housing crisis but it could decimate small, regional economies that rely on tourism.

Joan Bird, the director of Alpine Country Holidays and Alpine Country Properties, said there were almost 1000 short-term holiday rentals in the Snowy Monaro Regional Council, with most concentrated in Jindabyne at the foothills of the Snowy Mountains in NSW.

But she said non-hosted short-term rental accommodation made up just 5.74 per cent of the total dwelling pool.

“I’m tired of short-term rentals being blamed for the housing shortage,” Ms Bird said.

“As a percentage, they make up such a small portion of total housing stock.”

Ms Bird said many smaller, regional towns and areas often relied on tourism and the economic injection that brought, which included money from short-term holiday rentals and the added spend their guests made at local shops, restaurants and more.

“We put through 30,000 guest beds, at least, in the middle of winter,” she said.

“It is the driver of so many regional economies.

“I’ve got guests that, between lift tickets, food, accommodation, petrol, ski hire, restaurants and Woolworths, spend $15,000 for a week for a family of five. 

“That would be a huge loss to the town.”

Ms Bird said investors were also being unfairly targeted as being partly responsible for the rental crisis.

“Everyone goes, ‘It’s the investors, it’s the investors’, but they’re mum and dad Australians,” she said.

“More often than not, they’re just people that love your area, so they bought in and they use it (the short-term rental) themselves.

“Every single one of my properties, my owners use throughout the year as well.

“When you look at the numbers, they’re not as bad as the antagonists are trying to make out.”

Ms Bird said most regional areas didn’t have the luxury of institutional investors and many big hotel groups are not Australian owned so profits head overseas.

She said she’d also like to see more regulation around who can be a short-term rental host or provider.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.