Edinburgh among most expensive cities on Airbnb

Carrie Maginn in her flat. She has been both Airbnb host and customer. Picture: Toby Williams

Carrie Maginn in her flat. She has been both Airbnb host and customer. Picture: Toby Williams

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EDINBURGH is one of the most expensive cities in the world to rent a property through “sharing economy” rental site Airbnb, a report has claimed.

A study, from Airbnb data analytics company AirDNA.co, found that the Scottish capital is the ninth most expensive in the world, with an average list price of $144 (£95) a night for an entire home.

Airbnb, which was set up as a way for people to rent out spare rooms in their home – or even their entire property – while they are away travelling or living temporarily elsewhere, has in recent years become a major holiday rentals site.

The report showed that almost two-thirds of listings worldwide are now for entire homes, with a further third of properties available offering a spare room in a house or apartment, with very few listings available for shared rooms.

In Edinburgh, the proportion of entire properties is slightly lower, at 46.9 per cent, but shared rooms number less than one per cent of all listings.

Professor John Lennon, director of the Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “A lot of people want to stay in Edinburgh – especially at certain times of the year – so the rate goes up. It is good for the city and good for Scotland as a whole that people want to visit and spend money.”

He added: “Airbnb is a phenomenon that is quite a significant disruption in the market for traditional B&Bs and guest houses. It has really upset the apple cart and the effects are still being played out. Of course, if good value accommodation is being offered and people want to stay in it then that is only a good thing for the consumer.”

The report found that the cost of an entire property is $157 on average, while a room in a flat is typically around $76. At total of 4,806 properties are listed for Edinburgh, according to AirDNA, which was set up by Scott Shatford, an Airbnb host who initially wrote a “playbook” about how fellow hosts can make the most out of their listing, before turning his idea into a website which offers data on specific markets to hosts.

“Airbnb is no longer the couch-surfing alternative. Growth rates for entire homes is far outpacing that of shared spaces,” said Shatford.

In Glasgow, the only other Scottish city analysed by AirDNA and where Airbnb saw a rise in the number of listings ahead of last year’s Commonwealth Games, just 854 properties are listed, with an entire home marketed for an average of $151 a night. The figure is only marginally lower than in Edinburgh – but a private room, which makes up almost half of all properties listed in Scotland’s biggest city, typically costs just $62.

London is the most expensive city in the world to rent with Airbnb, the report found, with an average daily rate of $209. It is closely followed by Dubai and resort city Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, which charge an average of $192 and $184 respectively.

Shatford added: “Some surprising cities that make the list are Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and Cartagena, Columbia, which have relatively cheap real estate. Hosts there are making a fortune.”

Meanwhile, the study found that while the vast majority of Airbnb properties in Edinburgh offer wi-fi as a standard amenity, 79 per cent have a washing machine or dryer and 20 per cent have cable TV, almost none have a gym, pool or air conditioning – a contrast to Los Angeles, where almost three-quarters boast air con and one in five has a pool on offer to guests.

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