Airbnb: Sydney cracks top 5 in global rankings for users as regulatory talks continue.

Sydney has cracked the top five in global rankings of Airbnb users, its highest to date, as the company manoeuvers through government regulation that bans homeowners from leasing their property on the site in several areas.

Councils across NSW have varied rules that in some cases allow homeowners to lease properties on websites like Airbnb and similar, but in other cases apply restrictions to such activity.

The City of Sydney Council, however, currently considers short-term rental accommodation as tourist accommodation, which is banned in the majority of residential areas.

According to statistics from the company, the Australian homeowners who list their home on Airbnb will do so for 28 nights a year on average, making around $4,700.

“It is generating that supplementary income,” Chris Lehane, head of global policy at Airbnb, told a media briefing in Sydney.

“One of the messages I always get wherever I go and in particular in new and elected officials, and I will say this respectfully, but I do genuinely ask do you have are there any programs here that are generating the type of economics that this program is generating for the middle class?”

Sydney was only behind Paris, London, New York and Los Angeles in terms of user numbers, while it ranked 8th for listings.

Airbnb operates in 34,000 cities in 191 countries. Some 3.5 million Australians have an Airbnb account, around 18.4 per cent of all adults.

Housing crisis.

In response to concerns Airbnb was contributing to Sydney’s housing crisis, with investors chasing higher returns from tourists from homes in desirable areas, Airbnb said 75 per cent of its listings are middle class owner occupiers leveraging their houses.


“You obviously saw the support that we have in public attitudes here but also just a size of the platform here is incredibly popular and elected officials and those in government have picked up on that and understand this is a platform that is viable and incredibly popular here,” Mr Lehane said.

“My sense is that if you move forward with a regulatory structure here in New South Wales, eventually, you’ll have a number of these states that put these frameworks in place, that should help facilitate growth in the right way for the platform.

“We’re happy to work with them.”

But, according to Inside Airbnb, an independent online analytics tool that tracks Airbnb listings, 61.7 per cent of listings in Sydney were for entire apartments or houses rather than individual rooms.

On Trump.

Meanwhile, US President-elect Donald Trump’s election win in November has sparked uncertainty for Silicon Valley, where many had banked on Hillary Clinton ascending to the White House.

When asked about Mr Trump, Mr Lehane, who was a former advisor to Bill Clinton during his presidency, said Mr Trump had talked a lot about the dwindling middle class and how to help them.

“I think for us, whether its a Democrat or a Republican, left, right, one of the sides… I think we feel pretty good that our value proposition here is something that makes an awful lot of sense,” he said.

Mr Trump is due to meet with technology leaders this week, including Apple chief executive Tim Cook, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos and Alphabet chief executive Larry Page and chairman Eric Schmidt, according to Bloomberg.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

© 2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here