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Source: University of Auckland

Study reveals effects of Airbnb – The impact of Airbnb rentals on different neighbourhoods reveals a need for designated zoning laws, say Business School researchers Dr William Cheung and Associate Professor Edward Yiu.

Their new paper, published in Tourism Management, explores the effects of touristification on rent, catalysed by Airbnb.

Touristification, says Dr Cheung, is a process that sees unplanned tourism transform a space into one that caters mainly to tourists, provoking displacement pressures on local neighbourhoods.

His study shows that while increases in Airbnb listings raise rents in apartment-heavy areas like the central city, more Airbnb rentals can reduce residential rental prices within low-density, house-dominated neighbourhoods.

The impact of short-term Airbnb rentals is much more problematic in residential neighbourhoods, says Dr Cheung.

“In low-density residential neighbourhoods locals are more likely to notice strangers or increases in noise, and their area may not have the resources to cater to influxes of visitors. When visitors begin to swamp a community, local residents will be less willing to pay rent for that location and will move elsewhere.

“Whereas in the central city, residents are unlikely to notice this kind of change in population, and the area is typically more equipped to handle more people.

“Tourists are also prone to paying higher rents to enjoy convenience, and in high-density inner city areas, rents will be higher as visitors compete with individuals who would like to live in the city centre in order to enjoy better accessibility.”

Cheung says the study shows that the effects of Airbnb listings in an apartment submarket are very different to those in a house submarket.

“To partly resolve this, and in line with our findings, we propose a policy agenda for considering neighbourhood compatibility with short-term rental accommodation.”

As apartment-type properties in high density areas are more compatible with Airbnb, designated zoning could provide cities like Auckland with more flexibility to supply tourism accommodation while avoiding creating severe urban conflicts in low-density suburbs, says the researcher.