Why now could be a good time to rent a city centre property in Spain

Why now could be a good time to rent a city centre property in Spain
The supply of long-term rental properties in the southern city of Málaga has increased by 102 percent since the pandemic began. Photo: AFP
Spain's dramatic drop in tourists is resulting in more property owners making their short-term rentals in central city locations available to long-term tenants who were previously priced out.

If you’ve been looking to move to a more central location in your city in Spain and have been lucky enough not to see your income affected by the coronavirus crisis, now is probably a good time to act. 

Up to 20 percent of holiday rentals across Spain have become long-term rental properties since the start of the pandemic, a new study by Spanish rental platform pisos.com has found.

Property owners and investors who previously advertised their flats in Spain to tourists are now having to rent them out to long-term tenants “to prioritise income security over the higher profitability that tourist rental would offer them”.

The Spanish provinces where there has been the largest transfer from tourist to residential rentals are Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Almería, Tarragona, Barcelona, Valencia, Cádiz, Alicante, Málaga, Girona, Granada, Baleares and Murcia, all city break and beach destinations previously popular with international tourists.

Furthermore, the number of flats available to rent in Spain increased overall by 14 percent in July when compared to May.

According to Idealista, another of Spain’s main property platforms, the cities with the highest increased availability of long-term rental properties are Málaga (+102 percent), Seville (+72 percent), Palma de Mallorca (+67 percent) and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (+67 percent).

In Spain’s two biggest cities Madrid and Barcelona – both of which have struggled in recent years with the proliferation of holiday lets pricing and pushing residents out of the centre – the rental offer has increased by 63 and 41 percent respectively.

Spanish real estate agencies network Redpiso has observed  sharp falls in the price of rental housing in central Madrid, a decrease of 8 to 10 percent so far in city centre neighbourhoods such as Moncloa, Salamanca and Chueca.

Although the drop in rental prices has been most pronounced in city centres across Spain where holiday lets had overinflated prices in recent years, overall rents are actually on the up in many locations.

READ MORE: Where are the cheapest places to rent in Spain 2020?

The general consensus among property experts in Spain is that demand for rental properties is still very high.

“As long as supply and demand are not more balanced, we will continue registering increases in rental prices,” property website Fotocasa explains.

Only one in every four families in Spain rents their home, one of the lowest rates in Europe, but the forecast is that that figure will rise in the following years, partly due to increased difficulties in buying a property.  

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