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    Cairns rental property market facing fundamental shift

    Home-sharing website Airbnb is a huge hit with travellers and Cairns landlords. At last count, there were over 300 rooms, homes and apartments listed for rent on Airbnb across the city.

    For locals and investment property owners renting out to visitors, the returns can be lucrative.

    But the boom in this new wave of accommodation service is having an unintended but serious consequence for the local rental market.

    Observers say the popularity of Airbnb is a contributing factor to the city’s extremely tight rental vacancy rate.

    According to the most recent Cairns Watch report by Rick Carr at Herron Todd White, the Cairns rental vacancy rate for July 2017 stood at 1.8% for houses, 1.6% for units and 1.7% for the market overall.

    “With vacancies being so low, rents will rise and the availability of suitable rentals will diminish and this will be a problem for the whole economy,” Urban Development Institute of Australia Cairns branch president Adam Gowlett told Tropic.

    "The increasing popularity of Airbnb in TNQ will take even more rental properties out of the traditional rental pool and make it even harder to retain enough traditional rental housing.”

    With no sign the popularity of Airbnb is about to ebb any time soon, together with other factors such as the slow pace of building approvals, property industry insiders say the low rental vacancy rate will continue.

    “Coupled with the low level of new rental supply being created due to reduced levels of investor housing activity, rental market conditions are expected to stay tight for some time,” Mr Carr said.