World Economy

Airbnb Exodus Spawns Business Boom in Japan

Airbnb Exodus Spawns Business Boom in JapanAirbnb Exodus Spawns Business Boom in Japan

As Airbnb home-sharers in Japan quit the market in droves, following a new law that considerably increases red tape, their search for a smooth exit has brought a surge in new businesses.

One common option is to convert now-vacant properties into meeting rooms. Tokyo-based Spacee, which runs a booking site for conference rooms, has around 4,700 listings at present. The count has grown by roughly 10% month-over-month this year as the new regulations approached, Nikkei reported.

“More and more people at our informational sessions are interested in making old home-shares into meeting rooms,” said a Spacee representative.

Other home-sharers are opting to turn their rooms into monthly rental apartments. Real estate company Residence Tokyo launched a service in May that borrows rooms from former home-sharers, for around $800 to $900 a month, and then rents them out to tenants for about $45 per day. Rooms are mostly one-bedroom types. Inquiries regarding their business, focused on the greater Tokyo area, have risen by 50% in the past week.

Operating as a home-sharer often requires additional investment, such as installing sprinklers and fire alarms. “Accounting for equipment investment and other costs, the hurdles to home-sharing have grown higher on the profit front,” said a representative at Residence Tokyo.

Websites for selling off secondhand goods are also seeing more business. Jimoty, a Tokyo company that runs a used-goods marketplace site, is currently having a “home-sharing exit sale,” listing 300 items in furniture and other household goods. The listing has ballooned since April.

“Many items are offered for a low price, looking for a quick turnaround,” said a Jimoty executive. Items including refrigerators and beds often come in batches, with some selling for as little as 10,000 yen ($91). Many postings ask that buyers pick up the goods within a few days.

Companies that remove furniture are likewise enjoying more business. Tokyo’s Swwitch Entertainment launched services in the capital area last year, offering to help owners get out of home-sharing, and it is in the process of expanding elsewhere, to Fukuoka as well as the Kansai region, which includes Osaka and Kyoto.

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