Mailbox: ‘Cape Town, there’s no stopping Airbnb – just look at Joburg’

JOHANNESBURG — In the same week that a story appeared on GroundUp about Airbnb pushing Cape Town limiting residential supply, the City of Johannesburg’s mayor, Mr Herman Mashaba, announced that he wants more Airbnb hosts in the country’s financial capital. In terms of Airbnb’s own figures, Johannesburg (with 4,300 listings) lags way behind Cape Town (with over 17,000 listings). So, Jo’burg has more wiggle room (and it can’t really compete with Cape Town in terms of tourist attractions). Nevertheless, BizNews reader Shona Owen thinks Cape Town can still be more accommodating of Airbnb and that it should take a page out Jo’burg’s book. Take a read… – Gareth van Zyl

By Shona Owen

On the same date that a tourism site claimed Cape Town Residents Urged to Whistle-blow on Illegal Airbnb in Top Tourist Areasthe Good Hope Project announced Booming! Airbnb’s 154% growth in Joburg: Mayor Mashaba wants more hosts on

How terribly tragic it is that in one press release, Cape Town admits that top “TOURIST” areas should whistle-blow on tourists.

Cape Town, you are so very late to the table on this topic. Despite this, you are opting to challenge an established international free trade economy, that New York battled fiercely and extensively 4 years ago — and Johannesburg has the foresight to recognise as an unavoidable market force.

Clifton Beachs, Cape Town, South Africa

I live in Sea Point. Let me give an accurate, current snapshot of the rental marketplace. It is collapsing, rental agents across Cape Town are reporting on the lowest tenant placements in history, record high vacant properties & a complete lack of demand for a previously sound market. Rental prices across the board are the lowest they have been since I have been in Sea Point. There are many vacant properties. 

Mass new developments are hitting the struggling market every day. Absolutely staggering amounts of high end properties, out pricing most buyers in the local market. Cape Town concedes this is a tourist hot spot. Most local guest houses list on the global market dominator in addition to their private guest house sites. The road I live on, in the past year, has turned from mostly long term rentals, to being 75% short term tourist accommodation. (Under a large hotel brand, despite which , still utilise the Airbnb platform)

One of many mass new developments, in an already struggling property market.

Airbnb offers a massive existing opportunity, begging to pay taxes to an administration that desperately needs money for infrastructure and job creation. In your own words, a tourist destination. The Airbnb economy is already in place & operating.

Cape Town is not going to disrupt the global economy.

Airbnb has comprehensive lists of all income earned already by Airbnb hosts, and encourages host to file tax returns. It’s all there Cape Town Administration. It’s foreign currency, increased tourism, job creation, infrastructure development — in a literally empty property market.

Please join the realities of 2017 global economy, as Johannesburg has done, and utilise the massive opportunity for instant widespread improvement.

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