South African based property owner makes R109 million from 114 properties

An Airbnb Cape Town landlord is listed as the world’s number three earner with 114 properties.

He is reported to have earned R109-million a year, behind a Bali property owner, who earned R223-million with his 504 properties.

The top earner was a London landlord, who is reported to have coined R224-million last year from 881 properties.

South African Airbnb management companies say it is unlikely a single individual is earning all that money from bookings.

Airbnb has proved so successful with travellers that many rooms and cottages are being clustered together for efficiency and economies of scale – possibly explaining sky-high earnings in the figures released last week by AirDNA – an umbrella body in the US.

AirDNA said the Capetonian was the third-highest earner in the world between October 2016 and September 2017.

Chregan O’Flynn, director and co-founder of South African Airbnb management company airManaged, said: “If you are telling me someone has 114 of those properties, earning at that level, I can’t see that being true.

“We don’t make anything close to that.”

AirManaged has 207 properties in the Cape Town CBD and on the Atlantic Seaboard. Its services include the organisation of cleaning, repairs, laundry and check-in services.

Greg Schneider, managing director of Airbnb management company Superhost South Africa, said: “It would be very hard to hit those numbers as a management company.”

To make R109-million annually from 114 properties, landlords have to earn R956140 a property or R2619 a day, with the property booked out every day during the year.

Airbnb management companies take between 15% and 20% of booking fees.

O’Flynn said properties were often not available all year around because the owner might live in the property for some time or it is closed for renovations.

Schneider said such phenomenal turnover meant the places would have to be in prime locations that were popular all year round – such as in Cape Town’s city centre.

According to AirDNA, there are currently 13998 active rentals in Cape Town, at an average daily rate of R1221.

Rentals are occupied a little more than half of the time (51%).

AirDNA says on its website that information is collected by artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, which identifies when rentals are booked or unavailable.