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?”
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.
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.