Raising the BARR – Week ending 11 November

Raising the Barr


It is estimated that across the Cessnock LGA there are somewhere between 500–1,000 homes being used as short term rentals on platforms like Airbnb.  Essentially these are houses that are empty 80% of the time and occupied by short term renters (tourists on holidays) about 20% of the time.

Having a property that is rented out short term in this highly popular tourist area can be financially rewarding.  For example, a nice clean 3 bedroom home might earn an investor $40,000+ on an Airbnb listing.  For comparison, this same home might earn an investor a smaller $25,000 as a normal regular long term rental property.

Some people in our community are doing very well investing in properties for the short term rental market.  For some, this has allowed them to gather up 5 or 10 or 15 or more properties that are rented out with pretty high frequency.  Good on them.  They break no rules; they simply prosper through smart investing.

But we do have a massive housing problem here in our community.  We do have dozens and dozens of people that are homeless and sleeping in cars, or on streets, or couch surfing at various friends’ homes.  Its not that we have a shortage of houses, its simply that we have a shortage of houses on the long term rental market.

If just 1 in 10 of those houses currently on the short term (weekender) rental market were returned to the long term renters, this would instantly provide 50–100 homes for people to live in long term.  That would go a pretty long way toward fixing our local problem with homelessness.

Fingers crossed that some of those people that might own 5 or more short term rental properties might consider bringing one or two of them back to the long term market.