BUSINESS

Exodus from rental platforms

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

TAGS: Property, Business

Landlords are leaving short-term rental platforms in droves and returning to conventional long-term rentals as a result of the plummetting demand for Airbnb-style accommodation during the pandemic.

In the 10 days from October 2-12 a total 359 ads for central Athens apartments were removed, after another 439 exited the platforms from August 19 to October 2. Since the end of the year’s first quarter, when the lockdown started, 3,650 properties have departed short-term leasing platforms.

Market professionals say occupancy at short-term offerings is almost half this month what it was in October 2019. According to Nasos Gavalas, chief executive at Mint, occupancy stands below 40%, against 60%-70% last October.

Mint is a company that manages properties advertised on online platforms for short-term leasing. Its portfolio contains 300 properties that it manages for its clients, offering a wide range of services. Gavalas says demand for short-term rentals right now is almost exclusively driven by Greek visitors, either tourists or people originating from other cities and visiting Athens on business.

Therefore, besides the significant drop in occupancy there is also a considerable slide in the average price per night, which currently hovers around 30 euros, even in high-demand areas in the capital’s center. Just a year ago, the average going rate was at €55-60 per night. This means a decline averaging at 50%, which in some cases rises even to 60%.

“The point for many hosts nowadays is to survive, in anticipation of better days,” says Gavalas. “The lack of visitors from abroad has hurt the revenues of individual landlords, so they are choosing to leave the market at an increasing rate,” he adds.

This increase in departures from online platforms is explained by unfulfilled expectations for a rebound this fall: In the spring and summer, short-term rental market professionals had said that the industry would recover as of this fall, offsetting some of the summer losses.

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