Airbnb listings decline in Paris but increase in France

France: A recent AirDNA data report shows that the French capital city of Paris has experienced a significant drop in the quantity of Airbnb rental listings, while the rest of France has reported an increase over the last year. 

The decline of rentals in Paris was revealed in a recent trend report by AirDNA, a website that reports data on the rental service. As a whole, the report indicates that Airbnb has sustained itself throughout the pandemic, but trends show that guests are aiming to stay away from larger cities like Paris in favor of more remote areas. For the study, AirDNA compiled data that compares listings from February 2021 to February 2020.

The report states: “From January through June 2020, Airbnb lost five per cent of its total listings but has since recovered and grown 2.5 per cent off pre-pandemic levels.”

In contrast, active listings in Paris dropped by 3.2 per cent, and overall listings fell by 23 per cent. Cities such as Amsterdam, New York, Toronto and Beijing experienced even more drastic listing declines. For Paris and for France, the report reflects a desire to escape capital cities in fear of lockdowns, and instead opting for smaller towns and rural areas.

In response, Paris realtors have begun putting rentals on the market for sale. Health concerns and strict Parisian Airbnb policies have affected operators. Hosts have been stuck with unsustainable bank payments throughout the pandemic because of the hold on international tourism, and the AirDNA trend report is not the first to acknowledge it.

Frédéric Teboul, head of several Guy Hoquet Aleph agencies in Paris, told Forbes: “We have more and more salespeople on this case. The bank agreed to freeze their credit for a few months, but they had to resume repayment and, without tourists, they are not getting by.”

Following the conclusion of its IPO in December, Airbnb sought to tighten its control of short-term rentals by throwing out members who failed to register with their local authorities, with the strengthening of restrictions increasingly applying to popular tourist destinations across France that have a strong Airbnb presence, such as Paris, Lyon and Bordeaux.

From now on, Airbnb hosts in the country will be required to display their formal registration numbers on all of their listings. Those that fail to comply will be subject to extra measures that can be imposed by the home-sharing platform, including having all reservations blocked for the foreseeable future.

Under current regulations, hosts in Paris are permitted to rent out their homes on short-term rental platforms like Airbnb for a maximum of 120 days per calendar year.

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris since 2014, has been vocal in her criticism of Airbnb, telling French weekly newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche, of her annoyance was with Parisians who “treat home-sharing like a business, rather than those who only rent out for a few days a year”.

Last year, she announced plans to hold a referendum on Airbnb and other platforms’ short-term rental operations in the city as part of her six-year plan to lead the post-Covid recovery. By holding the non-binding referendum, the French-Spanish politician was aiming to free up more residential accommodation in the capital as she believed many Parisian residents were being priced out of the rental market.

In the previous February, Paris sued the platform for publishing 1,000 illegal rental adverts in its city, which reportedly cost the company over €12.5 million, driving Hidalgo’s ire.

The French housing ministry has followed suit by urging for such sites to work more closely with local authorities to prevent a repeat of the legal action, including the sharing of data and information.

However, the southern city of Nice has just this week announced it is imposing a ban on holiday rentals in the area during the February holidays, up until 20 February at the earliest. Its mayor, Christian Estrosi, said that the decision was made in order to prevent a “large influx of at-risk people” potentially carrying the Covid-19 virus and transmitting it to his citizens, and added that he wanted to enforce the ban across the whole department over the coming weeks.