Are short-term rentals to blame for the empty historic centres of Southern Europe?

Empty historic centres/ Gtres
Empty historic centres/ Gtres
28 October 2019, Redaction

Are short-term rentals affecting the long-term residential rental market? The problem, born with the recent affirmation of short-term holiday rental platforms, is not only an Italian problem, but is common throughout Southern Europe.

Prices of rented apartments increase with short-term rentals

Short-term rentals are limited to a period of less than one year and are used for holidays or studies, but not for permanent residence. The wrong thing would be, on the one hand, to reduce the supply of available housing by breaking down the social and cultural fabric of cities. On the other hand, it would mean pushing rental prices too high. However, all private apartment owners who have seen the opportunity to make money ($100 million worldwide last year alone, according to the Airbnb opinion reported by the Financial Times) are celebrating. Owners are responding to an objective demand for accommodation from tourists that cannot be ignored.

These are some of the cities affected by the phenomenon, according to the British newspaper.

Short-term rental in Florence, residents look for suburb areas

In Florence, one in five apartments is now used for short-term rentals. According to a study by the University of Siena, it has grown by 60% since 2015. Florence has the highest concentration of short-term rentals, in Rome y Venice, approximately 12%. The positive side is the incentive for investors to buy, who see Florentine tourist rentals as a good prospect of profits throughout the year. But this causes the exodus of Florentines to the suburbs. These are residents who leave the center of the city evicted by their owners, and in search of cheaper solutions would be a thousand a year.

Short-term rentals in Lisbon, the law of rentals

In the Portuguese capital, short-term rental platforms have spread rapidly and without government control. After the crisis, housing prices fell by more than 20% per square metre (between 2008 and 2013) and unemployment rose by 17.5% in 2013 alone.

Along with the double-digit increase in tourism in the city, which has become such a fascinating economic destination for many at the time of the crisis, it has led to the proliferation of short-term rents by private individuals seeking an alternative income through their apartments.

Since 2012, the rent law reform allows landlords to terminate long-term rental contracts at their discretion to replace them with short-term rentals, leading to a 70% drop in the availability of long-term residential housing in five years. This forces residents to seek housing in the suburbs to accommodate tourists in the centre. The houses have resumed the race for price increases, +12% in the last year, according to the division of Cushman & Wakefield in Portugal. Today, in Lisbon, an apartment can cost up to 7,700 euros per square meter in downtown areas.

Protests against short-term rental in Barcelona

In the Catalan Citythere are already protests against the rise in prices caused by short-term rents and against the uncivility of guests. They also fear the emptying of the human and cultural fabric of the city.

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