Airbnb and other platforms give New Zealanders $500m

2019-06-11 07:52:21

New Zealanders pocketed half a billion dollars renting out their properties on sites such as Airbnb last year, new data shows.

Stats NZ has released information showing the contribution of "accommodation sharing" premises.

It warns there is some uncertainty about the data because of the assumptions made, but it is clear that platforms such as Airbnb and Bookabach are becoming an increasingly large part of the market.

Annual revenue could be as high as $700 million, it said, although the report put it at $556m in the year to March 2018.

Almost 20 per cent of guest nights booked in New Zealand last year were in holiday home rentals, the data indicates. That was 12 per cent of all accommodation revenue and is up from 8.4 per cent of guest nights in 2013.

Stats NZ said it was estimated that accommodation sharing put $300m into the national accounts in the year to March last year.

Regional Tourism Organisations New Zealand executive officer Charles Ives said it would be good to see a regional breakdown.

"Every indication is that 'peer-to-peer' accommodation is giving a valuable boost to the regions that don't have major accommodation infrastructure, by offering alternative places for visitors to stay.  Research to understand how that impacts the regions, now and in the future, would be enormously helpful for the industry, and its funders."

Airbnb's head of public policy Australia and New Zealand Brent Thomas said the report reinforced both the growth and importance of home sharing to New Zealand tourism.

"Importantly, unlike traditional trickle-down tourism with home sharing the benefits of tourism are spread throughout the community. The biggest beneficiaries from New Zealand's home sharing boom are local families, small businesses and regional communities.

"Looking forward, we are incredibly optimistic about the future of our community and home sharing in New Zealand. Powered by a desire for more local, authentic and sustainable travel, we believe more travellers will choose to stay with Airbnb."

It has been suggested that more people may choose to opt to make money from their properties from Airbnb rather than renting them out long-term, because of a law change.

As of this year, people who rent residential properties long-term can no longer claim any losses against their other income.

Inland Revenue data shows 116,000 owners declared a loss from rental properties in the 2016/2017 tax year.

But if they choose to rent the property on a short-term basis from time to time instead, such as via Airbnb, they will still be able to claim the losses.

"Someone providing some short-stay accommodation in their main home would be unlikely to be making a loss from the rental activity, given they can only deduct a portion of their property-related expenses," Inland Revenue said.

"Similarly, if a taxpayer's bach is in the mixed-use asset rules, the apportionment formula in the legislation would mean they are unlikely to be making a loss, and in situations where there may be a loss, the mixed-use asset rules have their own ring-fencing rules."

Economist Benje Patterson said normally such a tax distortion would push more people towards Airbnb.

"However, the effects are likely to be only marginal in the Queenstown context at present. Underlying demand for Airbnb accommodation looks set to level off moving ahead. Not only has growth in visitor arrivals tapered off, but there are hundreds of new hotel rooms that will shortly come into service in Queenstown. This sharp increase in accommodation capacity will peg back occupancy rates and room prices, which in turn will undermine the potential returns for new Airbnb operators."

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