Icelandic Airbnb hosts earn the most

Icelandic hosts made on average 11,300 US dollars last year; Japanese hosts were the second highest earners, making 10,800 US dollars.

Mynd: Sigurjón Ragnar/sr-photos.com
Reykjavík, Iceland. Credit: Sigurjón Ragnar/sr-photos.com

Icelandic Airbnb hosts earned the most of all Airbnb hosts in 2017, according to information compiled by Turisti.is. Icelandic hosts made on average 11,300 US dollars last year; Japanese hosts were the second highest earners, making 10,800 US dollars.
The numbers were recently made public on Airbnb’s website as part of the company’s “ongoing commitment to transparency with local governments”. The data covers “the typical income” earned by hosts in more than 300 top cities in 80 countries world-wide.

There have been growing tensions between the popular home-sharing service and local authorities in various countries, who blame the company for the affordable housing crisis many cities are currently facing. Reykjavík is no exception; the city council has regularly discussed the problem with authorities in Amsterdam, Berlin, and Barcelona, in hopes to find ways to curb Airbnb’s growth. Last year, the Icelandic government imposed a rule allowing home owners to rent out their property on Airbnb for 90 days a year only. Anything surpassing that number would be considered as commercial accommodation and regulated and taxed as such. But the lack of transparency has made Airbnb listings difficult to regulate in any country.

Airbnb listings in Reykjavík have grown rapidly in the last couple of years, with 5.178 active units listed in 2016. The difference between Reykjavík and cities such as Amsterdam and Berlin is the high percentage of “multi-listers” in Reykjavík. Dr. Jeroen Oskam, the director of the research centre at Hotelschool The Hague, defines multi-listers as investors who operate between 3-10 listings in any given city. In Reykjavík, around 32 per cent of users operate between 3-10 listings, as opposed to 22 per cent in Berlin.

A new report by the Icelandic bank Íslandsbanki shows that Airbnb’s growth in Reykjavík is rapidly outpacing that of traditional accommodation, and that the company now holds a market share of 25%. At this pace, it is likely that Airbnb bookings in Reykjavík will soon be greater than all hotel bookings in Iceland combined.