Airbnb listings up 11% since S'pore ban took effect last May

Airbnb's total available room nights for single and shared rooms in Singapore from January to November 2017 was 1,186,887. PHOTO: REUTERS

Although it is against the law, Singaporeans continue to rent out their homes for short-term stays on the Airbnb online marketplace.

In fact, the number of listings for homes as well as single rooms and shared rooms has risen since the ban took effect on May 15, 2017.

Airbnb data seen by The Sunday Times shows it has gone up from 7,781 in May 2017 to 8,601 in December the same year, an 11 per cent increase in eight months.

In the same period, a total of 8,046 homes, single rooms and shared rooms were rented out for up to three months.

This means their hosts almost certainly broke Singapore law, according to Mr Alex Toh, real estate and finance lawyer at Withers KhattarWong.

The law forbids private home owners from renting their apartments and rooms for less than three months, unless they are given permission by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

As for Housing Board flats, they can be rented out under various conditions, including a rental period of at least six months.

Airbnb's total available room nights for single and shared rooms in Singapore from January to November 2017 was 1,186,887, a jump of almost 25 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.

Hotels and Airbnb cater to different segments of the tourist market, Mr Toh noted.

Airbnb generally serves younger, tech-savvy and budget-conscious travellers while conventional hotels draw the business and more mature crowd, he said.

Airbnb claims Singapore's laws against home-sharing "are the most restrictive in the world" (see main story).

Still, the number of listings continues to go up, indicating a growing willingness among home owners in Singapore to use the platform to earn money.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 04, 2018, with the headline Airbnb listings up 11% since S'pore ban took effect last May. Subscribe