An estate agent has come up with a unique way to cope with the UK’s slow property market: list properties on Airbnb.
Hunters is using Airbnb to make money while it waits for homes to sell.
It has started renting out properties through short-stay websites such as Booking.com and Expedia.
According to the Telegraph, Hunters has carried out a trial in Manchester and will roll it out in other major cities across the country.
The properties for sale must be vacant in order to be rented out.
Viewings for potential buyers are arranged in turnaround periods, but those who stay in the homes for short-term rent may have viewings scheduled during their stay.
Hunters is working with Lavanda, a company that organises short-term rentals and is backed by Purplebricks co-founder Kenny Bruce, ex-Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy and the Rightmove founder Harry Hill.
Manchester has one of the fastest-moving property markets in the country, but Hunters said it was launched there due to “unmet demand for short-term rentals in the city, a popular destination for students and professionals”.
In takes an average 107.9 says to sell a home in west London, compared with 36 days in Manchester.
Airbnb has been criticised for contributing to the housing crisis by using up homes for short-term rental.
Last year, the company clamped down on people renting out their property in London for more than 90 days a year, unless the homeowner had prior permission from their council.
Kensington and Chelsea, which has a very sluggish property market, has said it will crack down on Airbnb properties and has plans to set up its own licensing system.
In recent times Airbnb has shifted from a community-based flat sharing model to lucrative property management.
An Airbnb landlord in London managed to earn £11.9 million in a single year by renting out 881 properties in the capital.
Meanwhile, traditional property management companies operate as many as 1,000 listings on the site.
Last year, estate agent Portico revealed it was leveraging the business opportunities offered by Airbnb. It offers an instant Airbnb valuation and a full management service for would-be landlords. According to Portico, the average two-bedroom London property rented through the platform generates £106 per day.
DealMakerz isn’t surprised to see estate agents turning to Airbnb to boost their income.
According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the volume of properties on agents’ books, new buyer inquiries and agreed sales all slumped last year.
Its monthly survey of agents found there was little expectation that activity in the property market or the number of transactions would increase in 2018.
Meanwhile, traditional estate agents are facing increased competition from online players like Purplebricks, whose UK market share is expected to surge from 6% to at least 15% by 2022.
Thanks to their low fixed costs, online agents are able to charge significantly lower fees than their traditional rivals – something that’s highly appealing to consumers in a time of increasingly stretched household budgets.