Airbnb causes rising rents in Berlin: study

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BERLIN, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) — Apartments offered on the vacation rental online marketplace Airbnb caused rents to rise in Germany’s capital Berlin, according to a study published by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) on Wednesday.

The study showed that an additional Airbnb accommodation increases asking rents of surrounding apartments by an average of 0.13 euros (0.16 U.S. dollars) per square meter.

“This is mainly due to Airbnb offers that are sublet for longer than 180 days, thus removing them from the regular housing market,” said Tomaso Duso, head of the department of firms and markets at DIW Berlin, in a statement.

Residential rents have been rising sharply in Berlin for around ten years. The study noted that short-term rentals via online rental platforms such as Airbnb were “suspected of further exacerbating this development.”

The study showed “major differences” between Berlin’s boroughs. Rent increases per additional Airbnb listing in the area varied from 0.08 euros per square meter per month in the center of Berlin up to 0.46 euros per square meter per month in Berlin-Lichtenberg.

Although most Airbnb accommodations were offered in the city center, the “Airbnb effect” on residential rents was lower than the Berlin-wide average, according to the study.

“If a large number of Airbnb accommodations are offered in a neighborhood, the disadvantages for residents – for example, noise at night – could increase so much that regular apartments are less in demand,” said DIW real estate expert Claus Michelsen.

The study also analyzed the effect of Berlin’s political measures against online rental platforms. A corresponding law, passed in 2014, severely restricts short-term rentals. Residential property in Berlin can only be used for other purposes with the approval of the district authority. According to the law, offenses can be punished with a fine of up to 500,000 euros.

In 2020, around 10,000 apartments were sublet each month, only 0.5 percent of the nearly two million apartments in Berlin, according to the study. Enditem

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