Paris flouted apartment rent trends seen in many other major European cities, posting a 5.5 per cent year-over-year uptick at the end of 2020. The recently released HousingAnywhere International Rent Index, charting average rents for available one-bedroom, studio apartments and rooms, reveals lower rents relative to December 2019 in 13 of 22 surveyed cities with increases of less than 2 per cent in five other cities.
Paris also posted the highest average rents for available one-bedroom apartments at year-end 2020, at €1,803 (CAD $2,777) — a 2.7 per cent increase from the third quarter — which surpassed average rents of London’s available apartments for the second consecutive quarter. However, HousingAnywhere analysts link the upward trajectory to an influx of higher-priced units previously marketed for short-term uses rather than to competition for accommodation.
“We have seen the available supply on HousingAnywhere triple since March 2020. This is a clear indication that holiday rentals offered on Airbnb, Bookings.com and similar platforms are being withdrawn from the general housing stock,” maintains Djordy Seelmann, the company’s chief executive officer. “Rental markets continue to be dictated by the global pandemic, and it looks like the volatile days are not behind us just yet. Before vaccines become available to all population groups throughout Europe, we will have to deal with another series of lockdowns and its impacts on the rental market.”
London, Amsterdam, Munich and Helsinki round out the five priciest surveyed cities. London saw a 1.9 per cent rent increase in asking rents for one-bedroom apartments over the course of the year, with the average pegged at €1,780 (CAD $2,741) in Q4. In addition to COVID-19’s impact, the now finalized Brexit hits a longstanding pool of renters: international students.
Seelmann reports many are now seeking educational opportunities in other countries, both within and outside the European Union, as Italy, Germany and India all enjoy growing interest. “We expect this trend to continue well throughout 2021, further lowering London rental prices,” he says.
Advertised rental rates declined in the other three costliest markets — dropping most significantly in Munich. Average rents for available one-bedroom units slipped nearly 5 per cent from the third quarter in the German city, to rest at €1,451 (CAD $2,234) by year-end.
The decline was even steeper in its sister city, Berlin, which recorded the most severe drop among all surveyed markets. There, the average rent of available one-bedroom units fell by more than 12.5 per cent last year, including a 8.6 per cent decrease between the third and fourth quarters. Average rents of €999 (CAD $1,538) placed Berlin’s available one-bedroom units among Europe’s best bargains as 2020 closed out.
Only Turin, Valencia, Florence, Vienna and Brussels offered apartment seekers lower rental rates. Like Berlin, most of those cities saw average rents fall over the course of the year, but Brussels was an exception where rents for available units rose a modest 0.9 per cent from Q4 2019, nudging up to €972 (CAD $1,497).
Frankfurt stood out from the two other German cities, registering a 3.4 per cent year-over-year increase in rents for available one-bedroom units. That included an 8.7 per cent jump from Q3 to Q4 to end 2020 at €1,103 (CAD $1,699).
Apartment seekers could find slightly better deals in Amsterdam in Q4 following a 2.8 per cent decline in rents for available one-bedroom units during 2020 — taking the average down to €1,635 (CAD $2,518). Average rents for available one-bedroom units dropped by 1.25 per cent in Helsinki in the same period, settling at €1,381 (CAD $2,127).
Nordic neighbour Reykjavik was in the minority of markets with upward apartment rent trends. Average rents for available one-bedroom units in the Icelandic capital rose 2.2 per cent since Q4 2019 to reach €1,097 (CAD S1,689).