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Paris Real Estate Braces for Reality as Olympic Rental Frenzy Fizzles


Lauren Miller

April 20, 2024 - 08:37 am


Paris Real Estate Owners Adjust Expectations for Olympic Rental Boom

As the City of Light prepares for the upcoming summer Olympics, property owners who envisioned cashing in on the short-term rental craze are now recalibrating their financial forecasts amidst a less enthusiastic market than anticipated. Parisians who once had high hopes for renting out their glitzy apartments at premium prices are finding themselves in a bind as they grapple with lukewarm demand in an oversaturated short-term rental market.

Bullish Expectations Meet Market Realities

Many residents were eager to offer their homes as temporary accommodations for the influx of tourists and sports fans, expecting to substantially profit from the global event. Real estate agencies across Paris are recalibrating their strategies, reducing rental rates for high-end properties in fashionable districts, and are striving to manage the expectations of homeowners, who had initially set their sights high.

"The anticipation was palpable, but the demand has not met our projections," stated Omar Meniri, the head of Paris rentals at Engel and Völkers. Meniri expressed his disillusionment with the current state of affairs, as the reality does not align with his previously held optimistic outlook for the rental market during the Olympics.

Many property owners ambitiously priced their listings at three to four times their standard nightly rates, only to confront the reality that the market does not support such inflated prices. This overly optimistic pricing strategy led to a rude awakening for many who found their expensive listings were largely ignored by potential renters.

Hotel Prices Surge Ahead of the Olympics

Adding to the complexity, Paris is witnessing a sharp increase in hotel prices in anticipation of the event. Click here for further insight into how hotel prices are skyrocketing by as much as 300% prior to the Olympic Games – a phenomenon that underscores the competitive nature of the Paris hospitality market during such high-profile international events.

Nathalie Garcin, the co-president of Emile Garcin, a prominent real estate firm, conveys that they have had to slash their prices by half of the initial expectations while fine-tuning their portfolio of listings. "Now we are focusing on including only the crème de la crème of properties in our offerings – well-maintained places with new, top-tier bedding and stylish decor," explained Garcin. She also mentioned that she has been in discussions with owners about realistic pricing to meet the market demand.

The market data paints a telling picture, with currently available high-end living spaces, measuring around 100 square meters, commanding approximately €10,000 per week. This figure is a marked decrease from the €20,000 to €30,000 weekly rates seen just a few months ago, highlighting the dynamic nature of the rental market as it adapts to actual demand levels.

Olympic Rentals Languish Despite Marked-Up Prices

AirDNA, a provider of short-term rental data, reveals that as of mid-April, a significant majority, two-thirds, of the available bookings for four and five-bedroom apartments remain unclaimed even during the Olympics. Their data, which reflects trends on mainstream vacation rental platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo, indicates that the average rate for these properties stands at €1,108 per night, marking a 15% premium over the rate already booked for the fortnight leading up to the Games. Unbooked listings, interestingly, show a greater average rate markup of 35% for the Olympic period when compared to the two weeks prior.

Benjamin Brjost, the vacation rental director for the Paris region at Barnes, disclosed that merely 10% to 20% of their 'Olympics portfolio' has found renters, with most transactions occurring in January. Brjost confessed, "We are observing a notable deceleration," he maintains a glimmer of hope that the anticipated booking surge, which has not yet materialized in April, might unfold in May.

For insights on planning a trip to experience the Olympics—without necessarily staying in Paris—interested parties can find valuable information here.

Experts caution that the current inventory of listings may continue to stagnate, pointing out that many affluent visitors secured their Parisian accommodations a year prior when they secured their tickets for the Olympics. Furthermore, they speculate that there is a risk of existing reservations being canceled as travelers may opt for cheaper options if they notice a decrease in prices.

A Strategic Approach to Pricing

Christophe Ouvrieu, who is at the helm of the Breteuil branch of Junot, a real estate enterprise, placed his own 150-square-meter apartment near Place de l’Europe on Airbnb last July with the idea of reaping benefits during the Olympics. He managed to rent out his apartment for the duration of the Games not long after listing it. "Originally, the buzz was all about tripling your regular rates. However, my wife and I chose to be more moderate and only doubled ours," Ouvrieu remarked, reflecting on the exorbitant prices others had listed. This prudent approach may have been the key to the successful rental of their property, as opposed to the unrealistic expectations of others.

Unfortunately, for many homeowners with luxury properties, the costs associated with preparing their residences for vacationers could outweigh the benefits if they have to further reduce rental prices. It's anticipated that some may withdraw from the short-term rental market completely rather than decrease their asking rates.

"These are individuals who have the financial freedom to choose not to rent at all," offered Baptiste Albot, who oversees Left Bank rentals at Emile Garcin, suggesting that the current market conditions aren't appealing to high net-worth clients. "Renting out at €5,000 per week is not enticing to them. They're planning vacations regardless and are indifferent to whether their property is rented out or left vacant." This sentiment appears to be shared by many who have the luxury to choose not to compromise on their expected rental income.

In light of the recent trends, it appears that Paris’ luxury rental market during the Olympics will be far less lucrative than initially believed by property owners. Reality has set in, expectations have been dampened, and prices have been revised. While some have already sealed deals, a significant number of listings are still searching for takers.

The upcoming Games will no doubt remain a focal point of global attention, and Paris will be dressed in its festive best. However, the rental hysteria that was once thought to be a goldmine for property owners seems to be losing its luster as the events approach.

All eyes are now on the future, market observers are keen to see if there will be any significant shifts as the opening ceremonies draw near. Will there be a last-minute rush, or has the rental market already reached its peak? Only time will tell.

The evolving scenario in Paris serves as a testament to the unpredictability of event-driven rental markets around the world. The city’s experience may well become a case study for future hosts of large-scale events, providing lessons on balancing optimism with market realities. Property owners and real estate professionals alike will likely pay close attention to the outcomes of this summer's events, hoping to gain insights for future opportunities.

As the Olympic flame prepares to be lit, and athletes around the world ready themselves for the pinnacle of competition, Parisian property owners are re-assessing their strategies, aiming to make the most of a market that's proving tough to forecast. The challenge remains to strike the right balance between the eagerness to profit and the realities of consumer demand, a classic economic predicament playing out against the backdrop of one of the world’s greatest sporting spectacles.

As the Paris Olympics prepare to capture the world's attention, lessons have been learnt and strategies adjusted in the realm of luxury rentals. Despite the initial hype, it's clear that the real winners will be those who can navigate the waves of supply and demand with finesse and realism. Whether you're a homeowner, renter, or simply a keen observer, there is no denying the impact such events have on the local economy and the people who call the Olympic city home.

Paris's experience is a reflection of the fluctuating dynamics of a market driven by exceptional circumstances, where only those who adapt can truly capitalize on the extraordinary influx of visitors and the festive spirit that pervades the city. With the Games on the horizon, Paris continues to provide a living case study of the economics of opportunity and the price of lofty expectations.

In conclusion, as we near the Paris Olympics, it is evident that the euphoria surrounding potential Olympic-size rental incomes has been tempered by a dose of market reality. The balance between ambitious pricing and actual demand has been a precarious one, forcing property owners and realtors to adapt and reset expectations. This evolution of Paris's rental market leading up to the Olympics is a narrative of adaptation amidst economic and consumer behavior uncertainties. As Paris readies itself to welcome the world, its property rental market reveals the nuanced interplay between anticipation and the sobering influence of real-world trends.