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To Airbnb or Not to BnB In Netanya“…that is the question.”




IS NETANYA A GOOD INVESTMENT MARKET FOR SHORT-TERM RENTALS?


Last week a prospective buyer in Netanya toured one of the apartments we designed and refurbished. It had been occupied mostly by the owner and in their absence rented as an Airbnb. The buyer saw himself as an investor and looked keenly at the stylish fit-out and quality furnishings carefully chosen by our team. As he photographed the place, he spoke to his wife about how they could purchase a similar flat and create it as an Airbnb. He asked the broker what rental rate the apartment could fetch as a long-term rental and the nightly rate for Airbnb. The broker’s response piqued my curiosity about the feasibility of long-term versus Airbnb rentals on the Netanya coast.


While I do not equate the weight of the decision to that of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, when purchasing and fitting out an apartment on the Netanya coast, it is important to consider the many aspects of renting out Airbnb versus a long-term rental.

“The answer to this question differs greatly in every market and sub-market as the demand for short term rentals in certain locations such as Manhattan or Barcelona are not the same as in Netanya”, explained a local specialist in apartment management.


Netanya real estate broker and Senior Partner at Home in Israel Keller Williams, Darren Rich, said, “On the Netanya coastline most people don’t buy purely as an investment. The recent buyers want a home for their own use and might rent out the flat short term if they are not living in Israel full time. It is not an investment perse, but a way to cover their ongoing maintenance costs.”


WHAT IS THE POTENTIAL INCOME AND COST?


Home in Israel manages many apartments for foreigners. Darren Rich reports Ir Yamim average long-term rentals for 5 room apartments at ILS 10,000 a month. He has recently leased a high -quality furnished apartment for ILS 15,000 a month. In addition, the long-term tenant pays building maintenance fees, municipal taxes, and utilities. Rich reports that short-term rentals run about ILS 750-1000 a night, while the landlord pays all the running costs for the property. He claims, “In general, it is not worthwhile to purchase an apartment for the intended use of short-term rental. You cannot guarantee your income and if you have taken a mortgage, you cannot even guarantee that you can cover those payments.”

In addition to the above costs, foreigners would usually use a property manager, incurring a monthly and turnover fee for managing rentals. The base fee is around ILS 500 a month.


WHO CAN USE THE SWIMMING POOL AND GYM?

Rich warns that not all buildings allow short-term rentals. In fact, most of the buildings with swimming pools and gyms do not allow them and would not grant pool and gym access to short term tenants. Moreover he emphasized that if Airbnb is forbidden in the building, owners can receive onerous fines if they operate against the homeowners agreement.


GEOPOLITICAL IMPACT ON THE MARKET

Specialists tracking the short-term rental market in Netanya report a market anomaly of very high demand for short-term rentals in 2021- 2022. This is attributed to the reopening of Israel that allowed for families of people living in Israel to enter the country along with the war in Ukraine, which brought in an influx of Russians and Ukrainians to the area. Many people came to Netanya because they either had family nearby or wanted a reasonably priced beachside environment.

One expert explained the impact of geopolitics on the short-term rental market here, “In the lead up to the Gaza War in 2014 there was very high occupancy for Airbnb rentals. During that summer everyone cancelled. Since that period and including the shut down for Covid 19, the Airbnb market has not recovered its stability in Netanya. I see the high demand in 2021 and 2022 similar to that of the global travel industry with pent up demand for people who had not traveled for many years. There are also a lot of Russians who came here this summer because of the war.”


HOW TO DESIGN FOR FLEXIBILITY AND COMFORT FOR YOU AND YOUR TENANTS?

The designer Wendy Lehmann has designed and refurbished apartments to allow for both comfort and flexibility of use for both owners and short-term tenants. Lehmann emphasizes, “planning ahead for multiple end-users includes considering both the materials we use and also the space and storage design.” She explains, “I recently designed an apartment for two families, allowing for them to time-share, while ensuring that their children who live in Israel have a place to visit while on break from the Army”. Lehmann’s unique project inculcated special storage areas for personal use and attractive furnishings to create a relaxed beach house atmosphere.

During the Covid lockdowns many foreign owners who were not renting out their apartments, found that they could not come to Israel and wanted to rent out their place. Some found this more challenging than others. In some cases, the furnishings and storage solutions need to be adapted. Wendy Lehmann emphasizes, “we strive for your home to suit your personal style and needs. When letting out a flat, we look to create an inviting environment for more general use. This is not necessarily contradictory to your personal needs. However, we must take this into account in our planning. “


To Airbnb or not? Whatever you decide to do, If you are interested in buying to own and possibly renting out during your absence, designing for this combined option is key to your satisfaction with the outcome. It is not just an economic decision. Finding the right design and storage solutions can allow for owners the flexibility to do whatever they chose in any given situation.


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