The advent of Airbnb has been met with equal amounts of praise and criticism. For holidaymakers, it offers a wider range of accommodation at significantly cheaper prices than a hotel or rental property. On the flipside, there has been mounting concern that Airbnb is driving up house prices, rent and general cost of living for residents. It is never an easy decision when deciding whether to rent or buy, and it is only complicated further by lack of availability and unaffordable prices. But is it really bad news for Hawaii’s real estate market, or could it perhaps be a blessing in disguise.
Much of the controversy surrounding Airbnb has focussed on the fact that in some large cities such as London and New York, properties are supposedly being let on a long term or commercial basis. This could drastically alter housing availability and pricing for prospective buyers, who may find themselves priced out of the market. A recent study by housing analyst Ricky Cassiday has demonstrated that, fortunately, this does not appear to be the case in Hawaii. According to the study, Airbnb properties account for only a tiny fraction of total real estate in Hawaii at just 1.53%. This may come as a surprise, as Hawaii has always been known as a popular tourist destination. However, most Airbnb hosts live in their homes for much of the year, and only use the platform for supplemental income.
For those who are itching to get a taste of Hawaii life, Airbnb can offer more than a simple room. Just check out this amazing treehouse, built for just $11,000 and currently available to rent on Airbnb. This is clearly not a commercial rental, yet it is exactly what a tourist in search of adventure would love to experience. The owner occupies this small home herself, whilst also ensuring it doesn’t sit vacant by offering it on Airbnb when she is not there. Perhaps you have been considering letting out a room in your own home? Airbnb provides a platform that enables you to do so with ease. All concerns about the impact of Airbnb on Hawaii should be put to rest, the impact is negligible. For example, homes for sale in Hawaii Kai usually starts in the 1 million dollar cost, but if you wanted to experience this neighborhood before you actually moved in, you would have to stay at a hotel that's no where near Hawaii Kai. The airbnb give people an opportunity to experience certain neighborhoods before they purchase a home there. Of course, it gives people an opportunity to stay in a nice vacation home outside of the city too but there are several benefits I wanted to point out here. Look at Kauai real estate, between October 2015-October 2016, only 2.8% of homes in Kauai were listed on Airbnb, and only 0.3% were booked for longer than 180 days. Therefore, the impact of Airbnb on the real estate market is insignificant. Owners tend to use the platform for supplemental income, but much of the year is spent living within their home.
One thing is certain - buyers are not short on choice, currently there are over 4000 houses in Hawaii available on the market. So now the only decision to make is – rent or buy? Rest assured that you should be able to find something within your budget. If you live in Hawaii you probably have noticed a huge flux of Airbnb commercials on television with a strong PR campaign to inform local residents about the benefits of home sharing. Airbnb and local real estate are currently operating in harmony with each other, meaning both holiday makers and home buyers will find much to love about the Hawaii islands. With careful monitoring of the situation, there is no reason for buyers to fear being priced out of the market or unable to find a home in the foreseeable future. Mahalo - Kimi