International research suggests that short lets - Airbnb and similar platforms - cause housing shortages and push up private rents.
Research by the University of Cologne looked at the impact of short-term rentals on the Cologne housing market and says the “findings come as a stark warning to other urban areas”.
The research found pressure on the housing market steadily increasing over 10 years, with the number of short-term rental accommodations in Cologne increasing from 500 to nearly 6,200 in the last five years alone.
Of these, 41 per cent were rated as professional of which 65 per cent were owned by hosts with multiple accommodations.
The average income from short-term rentals exceeds that of long-term rentals after only 90 booked days.
“While a large proportion of hosts can be considered home sharers, we find an increasing proportion of providers who have developed a professional business model from short-term rentals. Professional short-term rentals are available to tourists throughout the year and thus compete directly with long-term tenants, for whom the rooms are then no longer available” says one of the authors Felix Mindl.
The research also found that 14.2 per cent of overall rent increases within the study period were attributed to short-term rentals – this results in a rent increase of around 320 Euros per year for new tenants.
The authors suggest that a registration process for the hosts could make an important contribution to improving transparency of the market structure.