73 Percent Fewer Airbnb Units Than in 2018

Vala Hafstað

At present, there are 1,150 rental units  in Reykjavík and vicinity listed on Airbnb, Sölvi Melax, managing director of Heimaleiga, a company specializing in providing service and maintenance for Airbnb apartments in the capital area, tells Morgunblaðið. By comparison, rental units listed on Airbnb counted 4,197 during the third quarter of 2018. That represents a reduction of 73 percent.

“I assume those numbers will rise again once Icelanders resume traveling in the summer, or once they move back in with their parents while renting out [their own] apartments.”

Law regarding short-term rental of apartments in Reykjavík took effect in 2017. “The main change occurred in 2017 and 2018 when a change was made in Reykjavík regarding planning,” Sölvi explains. “It states that the property has to be in a mixed-use neighborhood on a main street.”

Sölvi states what’s positive regarding the short-term rental law is that it is very clear about what is defined as an economic activity and what isn’t. Income from short-term rental may not exceed ISK 2 million (USD 15,200; EUR 13,600) a year, and the property may not be rented out for more than 90 days a year.

The law makes it harder for individuals to own and rent out an apartment short-term. “This is increasingly becoming an operation for investors,” Sölvi states.

Heimaleiga presently provides service for 160 apartments, but the company’s goal is to increase that number to 300 by next summer.

“The trend is for tourists to stay longer on average than they used to do,” Sölvi explains. “And if you stay longer, you want an apartment with a kitchenette and a washer.” That creates an opportunity for growth for the company.

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