Airbnb in Victoria: A Snapshot of Short-Term Rentals (2019)

It was a short while ago that Airbnb was little more than an idea with humble beginnings out of San Francisco. Just four years after the platform’s inception in 2008, Airbnb hit 10,000,000 bookings worldwide. This cemented Airbnb as a leader in the world’s rapidly-growing sharing economy.

Today, Airbnb boasts over 6,000,000 accommodations across 100,000+ cities in roughly 191 countries.

When did Airbnb arrive in Victoria?

Airbnb didn’t exactly take off in Victoria like it did in its founding city. According to a 2017 white paper by Victoria Adams, Victoria had just one listing in 2008, five in 2010, and sixty-two in 2012. It took three more years for the coastal Canadian city to break five hundred listings. Airbnb was finally starting to gain solid footing in BC’s capital.

Years before this surge, the City of Victoria introduced transient accommodation. In 1994, Tourism Victoria changed the transient zoning bylaws to include B&B vacation rentals. This change was made in response to the 1994 Commonwealth Games. An influx of visitors coming to Victoria for the Games meant more accommodations than ever were needed.

What happened after the Commonwealth Games?

With the Commonwealth Games long over, there was no longer a need for excess rental accommodations. Uncertainty around affordable housing options in the city only heightened this sentiment.

On September 21, 2017, transient zoning was amended to exclude short-term rentals and bed & breakfasts. Luckily, any of the buildings previously housing short-term rentals were given legal non-conforming status. This status is what allows Airbnbs to still operate in Victoria today.

What’s next for Airbnb in Victoria?

High season begins in the Spring months of April and May and goes until the end of August. As of March 2019, there were 1,184 active listings in Victoria according to the latest data from AIRDNA.

On paper, limited inventory and tighter legislation may deter those looking to invest in an Airbnb in Victoria. In reality, it’s likely that new listings will continue to spring up in the downtown core. Local and foreign investors alike will continue to set their sights on these alternative income-producing properties as long as the city allows them to operate.


For more information on current short-term rental legislation in the City of Victoria, click here.

Are you interested in learning more about Airbnb in Victoria? Be sure to check out Reiner’s comprehensive Airbnb Guide – free for download.