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Greek Property Owners Shift from Airbnb to Rentals Over COVID-19

Ευρωκίνηση

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Tatiana Bollari)

ATHENS – With the bottom falling out of the short-term rental market during the COVID-19 pandemic that has seen tourists not willing to risk traveling, thousands of  property owners in Greece' capital now want long-term renters.

More than 3,000 listings of Athens apartments for short-term rentals on platforms such Airbnb have been removed over the past 12 months, even before the pandemic began and a glut on the market.

From 12,000 listings at the end of September 2019, the number has currently dropped below 9,000, said Kathimerini, falling fast with tourists showing little interest in getting on planes or staying in accommodations.

That’s the level at the second half of 2019, before supply started soaring, especially in areas less frequented by tourists but where rents were cheaper, the paper said in a shift away from the phenomenon.

Property owners in lower-income neighborhoods such as Ambelokipi, Kypseli, Pangrati and Patissia find it safer to rent to locals for two to three years with fears the pandemic could last as long as that.

At least 2,270 houses and apartments in central Athens were taken off short-term rental platforms between the start of the year and the end of May, boosting the supply of properties for rent by the capital’s residents, said Kathimerini.

Whole neighborhoods had been emptied of residents to make way for tourists using properties for short stays and higher overnight rentals that boost the monthly income for property owners who now find they can't attract tourists who aren't coming.

According to figures compiled daily by AirDNA researchers, the number of active property ads on short-term rental platforms stood at 11,338 at the start of 2020, while that figure had dropped to 9,068 by end-May, the paper said.

That was confirmed in a similar analysis by property ads website Spitogatos, citing a study by Ernst & Young, which found a 7.1 percent increase in the number of ads for long-term monthly and longer rentals instead of short and overnight stays.

In some neighborhoods that had proved particularly attractive for tourists, the phenomenon also spiking monthly rents because of high demand and small supply, there has been a giant change, such as Petralona, with a 44.4 percent jump in long-term rental ads as property owners are competing against each other.