Planner: Central Prague population dropped long before Airbnb
Sharing private homes in Prague through Airbnb and similar services has in many cases become a regular activity.
According to an analysis by the Institute of Planning and Development in Prague, only around 20% of these apartments involve a paying visitor actually staying with the owner. The remaining 80% are entire apartments rented strictly for business. Additionally, about one-third of the city’s shared housing providers own at least two or more apartments. Michal Němec from the Institute of Planning and Development in Prague:
“As of May this year, there were around 11,500 apartments in Prague offered for short-term rental through Airbnb and other shared accommodation services.
“Most of the apartments offered are in the historic center of Prague. Overall, only 1.4% of all apartments offer visitor accommodation. But in the central part of the city it was around 10% and in the old town it was 20%.
With around 40% of Airbnb-like properties concentrated in the city centre, long-term rental apartments are becoming increasingly scarce in Prague, driving up rents.
Opponents say the surge in shared housing is excluding residents of the city center and will ultimately lead to its depopulation. But according to Mr. Němec, there is no proof of this:
“We don’t think services like Airbnb can lead to downtown depopulation. This had actually happened even before these services were introduced, and I would argue that Airbnb is more of a result of these changes.
“When we look at the offer on Airbnb and on real estate sites, we realize that in the city center there are currently more apartments for short-term rental than for conventional rental. But in the housing estates on the outskirts of Prague or in the less attractive localities, it is the opposite.
Hosts are required to pay taxes on their income, but councilors in Prague have long called for stricter regulation of shared hosting services. The new Prague mayoral coalition has already announced that it will consider measures to solve the problem.
Analyst Michal Němec again:
“The first thing to do is to engage in a discussion with the housing rental platforms and obtain all the necessary data from them. Based on this information, the city can then introduce regulatory measures, such as limiting short-term rent to 60 or 90 days. There are all kinds of options, but an initial discussion is essential.