BUSINESS

Slump in Airbnb business in many areas

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

TAGS: Property, Tourism

Greek ads on leading short-term property rental platform Airbnb are now up to 30% down on the start of the year, as the health crisis has convinced many hosts to withdraw their properties from the holiday market and find long-term tenants.

In the center of Athens the properties that continue to be advertised on Airbnb were 14.2% fewer in August than in February, i.e. before the coronavirus pandemic came to Greece, according to data by AirDNA. The company that specializes in online rental platform figures found that the properties available in Athens numbered 8,993 in August, compared to 10,493 in February.

The biggest decline in the capital is recorded near Lycabettus Hill, where the number of ads has dropped from 142 last February to 99 now, down about 30%. Big slumps have also been recorded in property offerings in Pangrati (-24.3%), Attikis Square (-24%), Kerameikos and Amerikis Square (both -21.7%)

There was significant demand for short-term rentals in the Exarchia area, but many of the properties there belong to foreign investors – i.e. under professional management. That means that as soon it became clear that Airbnb-style rentals would not fetch as much, there was a quick shift toward conventional rentals.

In contrast, the hotspots of short-term leasing – i.e. the historic triangle of the Athens city center that includes Monastiraki and Plaka – plus Koukaki and Zappeio presented a completely different picture: Ads for the city center have declined only marginally, by 2.6% to 1,716; in Koukaki the drop is below 6.5%, with 909 properties, and in nearby Zappeio the slide amounts to just 7% (142 properties against 153 before the pandemic).

That is because foreign visitors to Athens this year chose to stay within reach of the main tourism attractions, so the average occupancy in those districts remained high. These are areas that used to be very hard to find accommodation in for a large share of visitors in previous years, either due to the shortage in offerings or due to high costs, as the average rate per night had exceeded 110 euros. This year, when the picture has changed completely, at least regarding the supply of properties, most foreign visitors who did come to Athens chose those offerings, keeping them on the Airbnb platform.

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