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68% of Barcelona’s short-term rentals are concentrated in the centre of the city

In the light of the recent announcement on the short-term rentals ban announced by Barcelona’s local authorities, we turn into data intelligence to have a deeper understanding of this phenomenon and to help to adopt effective policies and measures to manage

After the announcement of Barcelona City Council on the ban on short-term rentals by 2029, we dive deep in the data intelligence on short-term rentals in the renowned Spanish destination to dimension the reach and impact of tourism rentals market in the city, 63% larger than the official calculations revealed by the city authorities.

We analysed up-to-date insights on short-term rentals demand and availability by mid-June 2024, that demonstrate the relevance of approaching short-term rentals market from a density perspective, as well as to anticipate the impact on key international markets for Barcelona.

Capacity, the nub of the issue of managing short-term rentals

According to Barcelona’s City Council, the ban over short-term rentals will apply to 10,000 units that will see their license extinguish by late 2028, putting back again these homes in the housing market for locals.  According to our data intelligence, this figure might underestimate the size of the short-term rentals market, 63% larger than the official figure, reaching over 15,800 units in total, equivalent to nearly 56,700 rentals beds.

This means that the total capacity of short-term rentals in Barcelona stands for 67.6% of the total capacity in hotels in the city (84,000 hotel beds by the end of 2023, according to the Observatori de Turismo de Barcelona).

“Getting the record straight in terms of dimensioning the market is crucial for policymaking, especially considering that, according to our data, approximately 1 out of 4 rental units in Barcelona do not count on the mandatory license for tourist rentals”, explains Carlos Cendra, Partner and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Mabrian.

Approaching availability from density perspective

According to our data intelligence platform, based on figures available via Airbnb, approximately 27% of owners advertise only one short-term rental unit,  whereas around the other 73% list more than one accommodation. Interestingly, among this 73% of owners who list more than one property, 57% rent more than 10 accommodations.

Close to 61% of holiday rentals in Barcelona are listed as “entire home”, whereas 33% are private rooms, and 4% are one-room apartments.  When analysed per city neighbourhoods’, up to 68% of all short-term rentals are concentrated in Eixample, Ciutat Vella, and Santa-Montjuic

Density map of Barcelona’s city short term rentals, by mid June 2024

“The effects of the Barcelona’s City Council’s Special Tourist Accommodation Plan (Plan Especial Urbanístico de Alojamientos Turísticos; PEUAT, acronym in Spanish), in force since 2017, reflects the efforts of the local authorities to reduce the pressure of short-term rentals in highly dense urban areas; but controlling the non-licensed units still poses a challenge. That is why we insist on the need of measuring the lodging pressure or density as well as the actual tourist activity, using indicators that monitor all the accommodation availability in all online platforms, weather they are operating with a license or not”.

Carlos Cendra, Partner and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Mabrian.

Destination’s promotion to deal with foreign demand expectations

A key insight to be considered for policymaking in terms of short-term rentals limitations is the source markets that use the most this type of accommodations. For instance, Americans, Frenchs, Australians and British concentrate the largest share of the demand, “which implies that Barcelona is sending clear signs to these inbound markets on a relevant change on their experience when visiting the destination, that should be properly managed in each market to not discourage visitation or spending rates of key demand segments, such as families or travellers with longer stays”, Cendra points out.

This insight is especially relevant when comparing the cost per night in short-term rental units and hotel rooms: as per our data for June 2024, on average, the price per guest to spend a night in a holiday rental accommodation is 56 euro, whereas a hotel night in a 3-stars hotel is 167 euro per night and guest, 175 euro in a 4-stars hotel.

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