The shortage of housing supply in Ireland has been a major concern in recent years, with many looking at the short-term letting market as a potential source of relief. However, before any meaningful action can be taken, it’s important to understand the real availability of housing stock on the short-term letting market.

A recent report sought to provide clarity on the short-term letting market in Limerick by examining the availability of Airbnb’s in the county. The report analysed the type of housing, size, and location to identify if the stock of homes on Airbnb could potentially be appropriate for the long-term housing market. It also sought to see if there was any commercial element to the Airbnb market in Limerick, in terms of hosts with multiple listings and if there was any stock which could be deemed in excess.

The report found that 95% of listings on Airbnb in Limerick City & Environs were considered suitable for residential living, while for Co. Limerick, 73% of listings for the county were considered suitable. Six hosts owned multiple properties listed on Airbnb within Limerick City & Environs suitable for residential living, while for Co. Limerick, there were 15 hosts with multiple listings considered suitable.

The average price per night for the 205 listings on Airbnb in Co. Limerick was €168 per night, meaning the average income per listing was €15,120 over a 90-day period. This reflects a much higher return for landlords than the residential market, even when accounting for lower occupancy.

While the STL market in Co. Limerick is varied, with both appropriate and unsuited homes for residential living, the real availability of housing was analysed, with 150 homes identified as appropriate for residential living. These homes would likely have a minimal impact on the housing supply shortages seen in Limerick and at national level today if they were released into the residential rental market. However, they would have a large impact on the individuals lucky enough to secure one.

The demand for housing is high and must be tackled with consistent delivery of c. 1,200 – 1,800 homes per year to ease the pressure on the market. Placing these 150 homes listed on Airbnb in the private market would have a minimal effect in the long run, as the stock would not replenish to continue to contribute for the coming years.

The report also highlights the need for regulations for STLs that focus on areas outside of RPZs. Of the 150 homes considered suitable for residential living listed on Airbnb in Co Limerick, only 52 will be impacted by these regulations. While unlikely to have a large impact on the availability of residential accommodation, we can’t discount the potential significant benefits that releasing these homes to the rental market would bring. In the case of Limerick City, having an additional 52 families or individuals living and contributing to the city center would be very beneficial to increasing the attractiveness and viability of the city centre.

While the STL policy may have a large impact on the likes of Dublin and releasing homes to the residential letting market, the impact it would have on cities like Limerick is more subdued. It’s important to understand the real availability of housing on the short-term letting market before any meaningful action can be taken.

The report is available for download at: