The short-term property rental market has become a trap for the majority of owners who entered into it due to the problems the pandemic created to the sector.
With the exception of some areas in Athens’ city center and southern suburbs that enjoyed some demand in the summer months only, the number of foreign visitors to Greece was definitely not enough to justify the investment in the renovation or reconstruction of properties for their utilization through online short-term leasing platforms.
The statistics on property ads on platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway showed a steep decline from the highs of two years ago. On average, the drop is calculated at around 50%, while there also are some cases in areas like the suburbs of Filothei and Psychico in northern Athens where it has come to 70%.
In general, the drop has been more dramatic in the northern suburbs, which were always a risky market for short-term property investors, as their distance from the main tourism sites and the lack of access through the metro and the tram made them target a different audience, primarily Greek guests from outside Athens.
The southern suburbs showed greater resilience, as did areas with easier access to the center of the capital. Proximity to the beach has helped districts such as Alimos, Glyfada, Palaio Faliro, Voula and Vouliagmeni, which maintain a high number of published ads, even if fewer than the city center. Still, unlike in the neighborhoods around the Acropolis, properties in the southern suburbs are showing a seasonal effect, so that their monthly revenues are not as high due to the considerably lower occupancy rates in the winter.
For central Athens, on the other hand – the most popular area for short-term rentals – there are still 1,585 ads, down by just 11% from last February. In Koukaki there are 824 ads to choose from, down 18% from last February’s 973 offerings.
Outside those districts the decline is significantly steeper, as many hosts have chosen to lease their properties on long-term contracts, estimating that even if demand were to return from foreign visitors, starting next summer, this will not be sufficient to allow for profits.