New paper: Short-term rentals, housing markets and COVID-19

Together with Antonia Schneider and Roman Seidl, both TU Wien, I’ve published a short paper how COVID-19 impacts on Airbnb and what this means for housing markets. It appeared in the journal Critical Housing Analysis. Our starting point was that Airbnb has been argued to have major impacts on housing markets prior to COVID. If tourism slows down due to the pandemic, what does this mean for housing markets? Are former Airbnb apartments coming back to the regular housing market and if so, what does this mean for rents? The paper looks at this issue both from a theoretical perspective, distinguishing current, medium-term and long-term impacts and empirically, considering four large Austrian cities with a sizable Airbnb supply. The paper is part of an ongoing research project that traces the impacts of COVID-19 on rental housing markets. The abstract and paper link (open-access) is available below. The paper was also featured in one of the major Austrian newspapers, DerStandard:

Kadi, J, Schneider, A & R Seidl (2020). Short-term Rentals, Housing Markets and COVID-19: Theoretical Considerations and Empirical Evidence from Four Austrian Cities. Critical Housing Analysis 7(2), 47-57.
Prior to the onset of the pandemic, evidence on the conversion of regular rental housing into permanent holiday homes has fuelled concerns that Airbnb and other short-term rentals contribute to the shortage of affordable homes and to the displacement of regular residents in cities with high housing demand. When the pandemic set in, the media was quick to speculate that holiday homes would be returned to the regular rental market. This paper provides some theoretical reflections on the factors that are driving and impeding such a development and presents preliminary results from an ongoing research project that empirically traces the impacts of COVID-19 on the rental housing market based on an analysis of real estate listings in four large Austrian cities. We argue that a current shift to the regular rental market is likely, but that the medium-and long-term development is uncertain. Empirically, we demonstrate that such a shift has occurred in all four cities considered. We do not find evidence, however, that the increased rental housing supply has dampened rent levels. View paper