Airbnb Listings in Athens Drop Significantly in Wake of Pandemic

The pandemic has brought a sharp reversal to the rise of Airbnb in the capital, with many areas seeing the number of properties on the platform plummet.

The number of Greek listings on leading short-term property rental platform Airbnb have fallen by 30% since the start of the year, as the impact of the pandemic has prompted many hosts to withdraw their properties from the holiday market and find long-term tenants.

In the center of Athens, the properties that continue to be advertised on Airbnb were 14.2% fewer in August than in February, i.e. before the coronavirus pandemic reached Greece, according to data by AirDNA. The company, which specializes in online rental platform figures, found that the properties available in Athens numbered 8,993 in August, compared to 10,493 in February.

The biggest decline in the capital was recorded around Lycabettus Hill, where the number of listings dropped from 142 last February to 99, down about 30%. Major slumps have also been recorded in property offerings in Pangrati (-24.3%), Attikis Square (-24%), Kerameikos and Amerikis Square (both -21.7%)

Prior to the pandemic, there was significant demand for short-term rentals in the Exarchia area near Lycabettus, but many of the properties there belong to foreign investors – i.e. are under professional management. As a result, as it became clear that Airbnb-style rentals would not fetch as much, there was a quick shift toward conventional rentals.

In contrast, the hotspots of short-term leasing – i.e. the “historic triangle” of the Athens city center that includes Monastiraki and Plaka – plus Koukaki and Zappeio presented a completely different picture: listings for properties in the city center have declined only marginally, by 2.6% to 1,716; in Koukaki the drop is less than 6.5%, with 909 properties, and in nearby Zappeio the slide amounts to just 7% (142 properties against 153 before the pandemic).

That is largely because foreign visitors to Athens this year chose to stay within walking distance of the main tourism attractions, so the average occupancy in those districts remained high. These are areas that used to be very hard to find accommodation in for a large share of visitors in previous years, either due to the shortage in offerings or due to high costs, as the average rate per night had exceeded 110 euros. This year, when the picture has changed completely, at least regarding the supply of properties, most foreign visitors who did come to Athens chose those offerings, keeping them on the Airbnb platform.

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