A new Conference Board of Canada report shows that short-term rentals have no material impact on the country’s rental-housing market, says Airbnb’s Canadian leader.
Nathan Rotman said Friday that the report shows STRs do not affect rental-housing affordability or vacancy rates in Canada’s largest cities. Some local and provincial governments have introduced, or plan to implement, STR restrictions to boost long-term rental-housing supply.
“The solution to the housing crisis in Canada is to build more housing and to increase the overall supply, not to restrict the very small number of people who are short-term renting extra space in their homes to make ends meet,” Rotman told Canada Connect CRE.
The Conference Board found that Airbnb units did not meaningfully increase rents in 19 Canadian cities between 2016 and 2022 because the amount of space used for STR activity was too small in most neighbourhoods. And, municipal and provincial STR regulations did not reduce long-term rents.
But municpal and provincial policies to regulate STRs have “significantly reduced Airbnb activity.”
The federal government is contemplating efforts to restrict STRs, the Globe and Mail has reported. Airbnb supports the creation of local STR-operator registries, said Rotman, citing a need for trust and safety. But he said Ottawa should not regulate STRs.
“I think it would be incredibly difficult for the federal government to create a one-size-fits-all system for a country as large and complex as Canada,” he said.
The STR rules needed in vacation spots like Ontario’s Muskoka region, Whistler, B.C., and Canmore, Alta., are very different than those in Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal, he added.
“I would say that this is a hyper-local activity that is best regulated at the local level,” said Rotman.
Airbnb commissioned the Conference Board report, which varies from a McGill University report that found STRs drastically reduced long-term rental-housing supply in B.C. Airbnb supplied five years of “granular” booking data to the board, said Rotman.
“This is the first report of its kind that has that level of real Airbnb data, and not scraped data from not always reputable [third-party] sources,” he said.
Monte Stewart serves as Content Director - Canada for Connect Commercial Real Estate.
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Monte provides daily news coverage of major Canadian commercial real estate markets, including Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary. He has written about the real estate sector for various media outlets and Avison Young since the early 2000s.
In addition, he has covered sports, general news and business for several leading wire services and publications, including The Canadian Press, The Associated Press, The Calgary Herald, The Globe and Mail, Research Money, The Daily Oil Bulletin, Natural Gas World and The Toronto Star.
Monte is active in his community as a youth basketball coach and raises funds for such charitable causes as Movember.