Residential buildings in Brussels, Source: Depositphotos

Airbnb contributes to rental inflation in Brussels. Here is by how much

Airbnb contributes to rental inflation in Brussels. Here is by how much

Also, a study found that the platform is increasingly used by so-called ‘professional hosts’

Initially, the concept behind the creation of Airbnb was to help people with an extra room make a buck or two by occasionally renting it out to tourists coming to their city. Likewise, visitors could get a chance to be roomies with a local and thus get first-hand insider info on a city they might be unfamiliar with.

However, as they say, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Recent research done by Vrije Universiteit Brussels shows that the proliferation of Airbnb rental units also leads to a surge in prices in the long-term rental housing market in the neighbourhoods studied.

The more Airbnb homes are added to a neighbourhood, the more quickly rental prices rise,” says sociology professor Pieter-Paul Verhaeghe, as quoted by Belga news agency.

The academic survey focused on the Belgian capital’s rental housing market during the period 2015-2020. While it was true that rental prices went up everywhere at that time, the price increase was sharper in districts with a higher density of Airbnb units.

In more concrete terms, for every additional Airbnb property added per 100 regular households in a neighbourhood – the increase in the rental prices overall was to the tune of 1.6% on average.

Airbnb professionalization

The Airbnb effect on prices was explained like this. Every new property on the platform decreased the supply of long-term rentals. In addition, the attraction of tourists leads to an increase in prices in other areas, such as bars, restaurants and shops – making life harder to afford for local residents.

The professionalisation of Airbnb helps create scarcity on the rental market,” naïs Maes, city councillor for Urban Planning and Public Space.

The term professionalisation is now often used to describe those hosts, who buy properties with the express purpose of renting them out to tourists and make their living entirely from this activity.



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