American portal Zillow has reported a notable increase in the number of furnished and short term rental listings on its platform since the outbreak of the global pandemic in March. The number of furnished rental listings on Zillow increased 42% from the 1st of March to the 21st of May and listings for rentals of up to six months increased by 23% over the same period.
Usually, these types of listings fall around March in the US market but the rise this year points to Airbnb hosts looking elsewhere to find occupants for their properties as the vacation market struggles amid the ongoing global pandemic. This migration of short term vacation rentals to property portals is something that we had seen some anecdotal evidence of previously in other countries but with these new Zillow figures, there seems little doubt that property owners are cutting their losses and moving their inventory into the long term rental market.
In response to the trend, Airbnb started changing up its business model back in early April to allow for longer-term letting on its platform and a company spokesperson told CNBC this week that “There are more listings and hosts on Airbnb today than there were on January 1”. It will be interesting to see how the situation unfolds as it is not only external economic factors that have driven away Airbnb hosts over the past few months.