Almost one in five dwellings on the Isle of Skye is now an AirBnB a new Scottish Government study has revealed.
The ‘People, Communities and Places’ report, which researched the impact of short-term lets on communities across Scotland, stated that 1,083 AirBnB listings existed on the island (as of May 2019) – almost a fifth of Skye’s 5,813 dwellings (2017 figure).
Other Highland hotspots included Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh (10.73 per cent of all dwellings), Caol and Mallaig (10.70 per cent), Aird and Loch Ness (9.87 per cent), Fort William and Ardnamurchan (9.74 per cent) and Badenoch and Strathspey (7.56 per cent). The national average was 1.2 per cent.
Kevin Stewart, the Scottish Government’s Housing Minister, has pledged to bring forward proposals to tackle the issue before the end of the year.
Skye constituency MSP Kate Forbes commented: “On one hand, there is high demand for accommodation over the busy tourist period, and short-term lets meet that need. But on the other hand, it does reduce housing supply and hikes prices.
“That is why the Scottish Government conducted the consultation on short-term lets and as a Highland MSP I was particularly pleased they were visiting the very communities that are most affected.
“The pressure on housing on Skye, Fort William and other parts of the Highlands is severe. That’s why it is so important that we all work together to resolve it.
“There is no single solution. We’ve got to build more affordable homes, as the Scottish Government is doing particularly in the West Highlands. We’ve got to provide financial support to those who can’t afford a home, such as the Self Build Loan Fund or the Croft House Grant scheme.
“And ultimately we’ve got to crack down on second homes, many of which are sitting there idly whilst families are homeless.
“The Housing Minister has said he will bring forward proposals before the end of the year, and I look forward to seeing these in due course.”