Short-term lets in London yet to recover from the pandemic

The number of active short-term rentals across almost all London neighbourhoods was lower in Q1 2023 compared to Q1 2020.

Related topics:  Landlords,  London,  pandemic,  short-term
Property | Reporter
13th June 2023
London 77
"The availability of London properties on short-term rental sites like Airbnb has been fluctuating since the beginning of the pandemic but, in almost all cases, availability has never reached pre-covid levels"

Newly released data from Your AirHost has revealed that active rentals, including properties that had at least one day reserved or available each month, are down across the capital by 27% compared with the beginning of 2020.

The data, which uses figures from AirDNA, identifies only 7 neighbourhoods where the number of active rentals has risen, with the average growth in these areas being just 23%.

While some of the neighbourhoods with the highest decline are in central London, supply issues are affecting areas of both central and greater London.

The 10 neighbourhoods with the highest decline compared to pre-Covid levels are:

Whitechapel -51.63%
Bethnal Green -46.85%
Hammersmith -43.13%
Islington -42.04%
Clerkenwell -41.75%
Bloomsbury -38.13%
Maida Vale -37.61%
Westminster -37.60%
City of London -36.35%
Hampstead -36.30%

On the other hand, Airbnb property owners have seen their average daily rate climb by 67% in the same period, from an average of £147 to £246 across the capital.

The decline in available listings is therefore likely not a representation of demand but of shrinking availability in both long-term and short-term rental properties.

Stefan Hoffelner, owner of Your AirHost said: "The political climate for short-term rental owners is harsh and has become the new villain of the housing crisis.

"However, studies like this show that, in some cases, short-term rentals are not the driving force behind the lack of housing in UK cities.

"The availability of London properties on short-term rental sites like Airbnb has been fluctuating since the beginning of the pandemic but, in almost all cases, availability has never reached pre-covid levels.

"The focus on tighter controls on short-term rentals may have merit in some communities but it is not the solution to the housing crisis. As this data shows, active rentals in London are down and yet available rental properties are still limited, meaning other strategies will need to be used to balance supply and demand.”

Madeleine Parkin, spokesperson for AirDNA: "2023 should be a strong year for UK tourism, as international travel returns but those Brits who rediscovered domestic destinations during the pandemic also still want to travel within the UK.

"While many seaside and rural destinations have reaped the benefits of the race for space over the past few years, supply in cities like London (-26%), Edinburgh (-48%), and Oxford (-21%) remains below 2019 levels, while demand is beginning to return, pushing occupancy up.

"On the whole, research into different global markets by AirDNA found that the relationship between growth in the supply of STRs and housing prices was often overstated, and when controlling for market popularity as a tourist destination, redevelopment, and other variables, STRs can be found responsible for between 1-4% of the increase in housing prices, with a large difference between touristic areas and non-touristic areas."

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