IF YOU'RE struggling to find a rental property, this could be why.
New research shows properties listed on online short-term accommodation site Airbnb account for nearly one in seven rental properties in popular Sydney and Melbourne suburbs.
An Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) report reveals listings are concentrated in inner-city and beachside suburbs, reducing the availability of long-term rentals and creating further affordability pressure in sought-after areas.
Researchers from UNSW Sydney and Swinburne University of Technology examined the extent short-term lettings - whole properties available for more than 90 days a year - are contributing to pressures.
In Sydney, commercial Airbnb listings are concentrated in the eastern suburbs, Darlinghurst and Manly, accounting for between 11.2 per cent and 14.8 per cent of all rental housing stock.
In Melbourne, the cluster is in Central Melbourne, Docklands, Southbank, Fitzroy and St Kilda, accounting for between 8.6 per cent and 15.3 per cent of rental housing stock.
"As rental markets in Sydney and Melbourne are unaffordable for lower income renters, even a small reduction in available rental properties is concerning," UNSW lead researcher Dr Laura Crommelin said.
"For tenants living in the 'high-demand' suburbs, there could be an increased risk of having their lease terminated if the owner decides it is more profitable or convenient to list the property on Airbnb instead."
But a spokesman for Airbnb said the report was "deeply flawed"
"The report relies on unreliable data and an unrepresentative survey to make inaccurate claims about our community," a statement said.
"The Airbnb community represents less than one per cent of the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets. Holding less than one per cent of the market responsible just isn't credible, and more seriously distracts from the big causes, like the planning system, population growth and taxation.
"It is wrong and unfair to malign the working and middle class families who rely on home sharing.
"The typical Airbnb host in Australia earns a modest $107 a week or $5,600 a year which we know helps them make ends meet and pay the bills."
Researchers found homeowners are more aware of Airbnb opportunities when thinking of future purchases.
"We found some evidence that Airbnb is reshaping the market for investment properties in Australia," Dr Crommelin said.
"For example, real estate agents have been cited claiming investors will pay a two to three per cent premium for properties that show a higher-yielding Airbnb income stream.
"Similarly, Airbnb property managers told us their businesses have been growing rapidly, as some investors are achieving better returns on short-term letting than long-term rental."
Compared to other markets, Sydney and Melbourne have relatively unrestrictive short-term letting regulations where little permission or notification is given to authorities.
The report recommends that these cities should look at a notificatory approach.
It said giving hosts an identification number allowed local and state governments to check compliance with limits on days let and restrictions on listing multiple properties.