1 In 4 African Airbnb Properties Is In Cape Town: How It’s Changing The Way People Buy Homes

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Written by Dana Sanchez

South Africa’s sluggish economy is forcing homeowners to find creative ways to make their property work for them, and Airbnb — a website that lets homeowners rent out space in their homes — is making it easier to do so.

In 2017, South African home owners will increasingly look for ways to earn income from their homes, said Ashley James‚ co-founder of online real estate seller PropertyFox.

“We anticipate 2017 will be a time when the industry disruption which has been gathering steam this year really takes hold, and when consumers look for creative ways to make their properties work for them‚” James predicted in a TMG Digital report, according to Sowetan Live.

This is expected to impact how people buy as they look for homes that will double as vacation rentals. Someone who may have opted for a four-bedroom home in one neighborhood may now be more tempted to buy a two-bedroom home in another area that has more income potential.

This trend that will also impact home decoration decisions: “The more clean and neutral look goes down better on Airbnb,” the report said.

“More and more people will forego their natural aversion to having a stranger in their midst in order to generate income from their property‚” PropertyFox predicted.

One in four Airbnb properties in Africa is in Cape Town, Cape Times reported, according to Independent Online.

Considered the tourism capital of Africa, Cape Town’s beauty is almost always described in superlatives. “Mother Nature surpassed herself when crafting the Mother City,” Simon Richmond wrote in Lonely Planet. “One destination continues to hold the No. 1 spot in our wanderlust-filled hearts: Cape Town,” a Huffington Post report said.

Airbnb has recently grown from 10,000 to 15,000 listed properties in Cape Town as property owners seek to make extra income, said Alan Winde, Minister of economic opportunities.

The hospitality industry has called for stricter regulations on Airbnb, saying property owners should be subject to the same rules that govern hotels, Independent Online reported.

International arrivals at Cape Town International Airport were up 22 percent in September and October 2016, compared to the previous year, Winde said.  Domestic tourism is also up in Cape Town and the Western Cape.

In Cape Town, the most affordable property on Airbnb is the Sleepy Backpackers in Gordons Bay at $13.57 US per night for a shared room, and $15.80 per night for a room in a family home in Khayelitsha township. In Clifton, a private room went for as low as $18.46 per night, IOL reported.

Some of the more expensive Cape Town area listings include a house in Fresnaye for $1,165 a night, a Sea Point home for $718 and a house on two acres in Upper Constantia for $1,077 a night.

Airbnb has turned the system upside down, NPR reported in March. When the site launched in 2008, Africa was a small part of its listings. As of March, more than 44,000 homes in Africa were listed, and the continent is one of the company’s fastest-growing regions, topped by South Africa, Morocco and Kenya.

“We want to bring tourists to parts of the continent that aren’t covered by traditional accommodations — only places where you could stay in other people’s homes,” said Nicola D’Elia, Airbnb’s first general manager for Africa and the Middle East.

Airbnb is helping create a new generation of micro-entrepreneurs from local hosts, he said.