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COVID-19 slows down Airbnb’s takeover of Prague, other European cities

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Airbnb’s presence in the European real estate market has dissipated in most cities on the continent after a year of COVID-19 restrictions. 

According to real estate management companies in Prague, Lisbon, Barcelona and Venice, property investors’ business models have largely switched from being centered around short-term Airbnb rentals, to long-term rentals to regular tenants. 

Airbnb investment and analytics site AirDNA shows that Airbnb listings have disappeared by an average of 21.9% in 50 of Europe’s largest cities. On the other hand, because of a growing desire to get out of the cities, Airbnb has more listings in rural areas today than they did at the same time in 2019. 

According to, Airbnb listings in Prague fell from 14,500 to less than 8,000 between March 2020 and December 2020. 

Reuters sources record a 50% drop in Airbnb accommodations between January 2020 and January 2021. “I was losing $20,000 a month, and regulation was making things very complicated,” a Prague landlord told them. “The Airbnb boom is over.”

Forward bookings in Rome, Lisbon, and Budapest, which are all 90% lower than in March of 2020.

Marco Gasparinetti, of Italian resident rights NGO Gruppo 25 Aprile, said that the activist group hopes that changes brought on by the COVID-19 restrictions continue into the future so that people can actually afford to live in their own cities. Venice has 60,000 inhabitants, but takes in 20 million tourists each year.

“Before the pandemic, rent prices in Venice were almost impossible for normal people… 30,000 people commute to Venice every single day, because they can’t afford to live there. That could change now, and maybe Venice can be something else besides a big theme park for tourists.”

Before the complete shutdown of the economy and restrictions on human movement, mayors from all over Europe were trying to organize for regulation on Airbnb to tame all the issues stemming from the rental site. 

The COVID-19 restrictions are probably not what they had in mind, but they have been able to accomplish what the mayors and politicians struggled with.

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