Florence, Covid has halved the number of houses for tourists. Large and companies remained in the market

The effects of the pandemic on the tourist rental market in Florence are becoming apparent. And the battle of Covid on the so-called “Airbnb phenomenon” is felt and how. One number is enough to realize this: according to data from Airdna, the US company that processes Airbnb big data, in August 2019 there were 15,817 apartments available on the tourist rental portal in Florence, today there are “only” 7,786. A vertical collapse why the reason explains Edoardo Matucci of Homes in Florence, an agency that deals with managing short-term rentals on behalf of private property owners. “Until the pandemic, everyone wanted to enter the short-term rental market for tourists in Florence in the belief that it would not experience a crisis. So many people used their savings and took out a mortgage to buy small properties, usually one bedroom apartments, for rent to tourists. The average income, estimated at about two thousand euros a month, made it easy to pay off mortgages and utilities and to put the rest in your pocket. The dream of living off an income.

Also However, Covid has arrived: again, according to Airdna, during the long period of travel restrictions imposed to deal with the health emergency, bookings fell by up to 80%. Tourism in Florence is (temporarily) dead. “At that time,” Matucci continues, “the one who got into debt to buy the property or sold or was forced to convert to a long-term lease, to cover at least the mortgage repayments. Those who have rented for a few years, or even the classic three plus two, do not have an apartment available today. And it eats your hands because in this post Covid phase, Florence is experiencing a phase with very high demand: as there is less supply, prices have risen sharply “. Airdna reports punctually about the restart: in January 2022, the average occupancy rate of the apartments available on Airnbnb in Florence was 67%, the average price per. night for two people at 98 euros; in May, the average occupancy rate rose to 89% and the price to 130 euros. For a one-bedroom apartment, owners in January, excluding expenses, collected an average of 1,400 euros in rent per month; in May over 2,600. The fat cows are back, but they are no longer for everyone.

There the crisis has made selection, and in the market there are those who did not have debt to repay or in any case a level of capitalization and liquidity that was sufficient to support the long period of inactivity: certainly it is not the small owners who supplement with renting the other home, but the real estate companies and more generally those who own more apartments. A phenomenon that highlights the entrepreneurial character of tourist rentals, but also the fact that many before 2020 had decided to invest to start a short-term rental business attracted by the large and (so one thought) easy and secure earnings, shows that it is about entrepreneurship. And now will those who have been forced to convert to other markets to survive come back? Will the Airbnb phenomenon return to pre-pandemic numbers? “Probably not -” Matucci concludes. And it has also been understood that not all properties are suitable for rental to tourists: the larger ones work and in truly strategic positions.. In addition, fears of new shutdowns have continued and there are now fears that the war will lead to new travel restrictions. Some who have returned to the availability of their properties will reappear in the tourist market, but not all of them ». Those who have burned themselves out in the hunt for the easy money are likely to keep the security for the longer rents. And in the Florentine short-term rental market, more robust and structured items will predominantly remain, companies that are able to withstand the shocks of the market. What little was left of the original spirit of the sharing economy was taken away by Covid.

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June 21, 2022 | 07:35


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