The latest alibi for Australia's housing crisis is short-stay accommodation operations like Airbnb and Stayz.
They're an easy target. Any change makes people uneasy, and innovations like these are definitely a change.
Instead of learning to live with them, it's easier to regulate them. And if you regulate them, you can tax them, which you can represent as being mere cost recovery.
So they're a profitable target as well.
There's definitely a housing crisis but the major causes have nothing to do with short-stay accommodation apps.
The crisis exists for both buyers and renters. It is partly a result of house price increases, partly a result of not enough supply for the demand, and partly a result of a rise in interest rates and other costs.
Buyers are frozen out by high prices and can't service the loan required, leaving them in the rental market.
Landlords, faced with rising costs (interest rates on mortgages) and a short supply of housing, are using the opportunity to increase rents.
House prices have risen for two reasons. One is that asset prices go up when interest rates go down. A second is that demand has been growing faster than housing supply.
The reason house prices go up as interest rates fall is that low-interest rates mean you can service a larger mortgage, which means you can pay more for the asset. So prices get bid up.
Until recently, interest rates explained 70 percent of price rises, according to research from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).
However, this relationship has broken down to some extent because house prices have not fallen as far as theory would suggest as the RBA cash rate has moved from 0.1 percent to 4.1 percent.
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