Out of luck renters looking for their next home could see some relief as property owners look to convert their empty Airbnbs.
Blenheim-based property managers are predicting Airbnb owners may make the switch as tourism around the country dries up.
But until lockdown restrictions are lifted, the rental market is on hold.
Harcourts Marlborough senior property manager Lavina Diamanti says the move could help ease pressure and housing shortages.
There are 16 rental properties in Marlborough listed on Trademe, with one in Kaikoura and one in Picton while Airbnb lists more than 100 places to stay in the region.
“We’ve had a real shortage of rentals and a lot of people struggling to find a home,” Lavina says.
“Potentially, we could have a more balanced market.”
She says Marlborough’s demographic and industry means, typically, Marlborough isn’t hit as hard by downturns in the property market.
But she says predicting the effect of Covid-19 on the market is “crystal ball stuff”.
First National Marlborough senior property manager Mariette Knudsen says rental demand has plummeted as people isolate themselves to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“There are quite a few Airbnb in Blenheim and there are cancellations happening everywhere,” she says.
“The nice ones with good reviews will probably hold on,” Mariette says.
“I think there will be Airbnb’s coming onto the market, but not all of them.”
She says the increase in stock most likely won’t affect the price of a rental.
“It’s supply and demand,” she says.
“People still need a place to live.”
She says rent increases across New Zealand are caused by a combination of demand and the new healthy homes requirements.
“Being a landlord myself, it’s affected us considerably.
“If there is an adjustment, I don’t think it will be a major one.”