Geraldton is one of many regional towns in the Mid West seeing a surge in Airbnb listings while properties available on the rental market continue to dwindle. With the State in the grip of a housing crisis in which rents have soared by 40 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels, new analysis reveals thousands of properties across WA are being held off the market by short-stay accommodation hosts. Short-stay accommodation looks to be the popular choice for homeowners as rentals remain hard to find around Geraldton after alarming figures show the Airbnb market overtakes rentals almost three to one. Figures extracted from website Inside Airbnb — founded by Australian Murray Cox to highlight the growing number of homes on the platform — show that across the Greater Geraldton region, there were 117 Airbnb accommodation options compared with 38 available rental properties on realestate.com.au. The figure doesn’t include the single/shared room accommodation available through Airbnb, which raises the number of local short-stay bed options to 296. The most affordable Airbnb property is valued at $744.93 a week and at the more expensive end you are looking at $1,891.68 a week. Airbnb country manager for Australia and New Zealand Susan Wheeldon said the hosts who listed their residence for Airbnb would otherwise be vacant holiday homes used for themselves, friends or family. “Many of these homes are unlikely to be offered on the long-term rental market,” she said. “Short-term rentals also provide a way for everyday people to stay afloat and combat rising costs of living and growing mortgage repayments.” Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has not yet begun legislation to action the draft planning policy that requires Airbnb hosts to register their homes on a Statewide register and apply for permission to lease properties for more than 60 nights of the year. Airbnb availability has skyrocketed in the Shire of Dandaragan, which includes Jurien Bay and Cervantes, with 156 compared to three properties available to rent. The Shire of Northampton have 128 listed Airbnb options and one property available to rent. According to the Real Estate Institute of WA, rents in Geraldton have jumped to $370 a week in the past year, an increase of 12 per cent. At the end of the June quarter, there were 23 active listings on the Geraldton rental market compared with 35 at the same stage last year.