Three essays on housing economics: the impact of COVID-19 on short-, medium- and long-term rental housing

Llaneza Hesse, Catalina
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This dissertation evaluates the pandemic's impact on three coexisting urban rental markets: traditional long-term rentals (LTR), short-term rentals (STR) primarily catering to tourists, and seasonal month-by-month rentals also known as medium-term rental (MTR). Using web-scrapped Airbnb data and applying fixed effects and dummy interactions at the property level, the first two articles examine the impact of the pandemic in city of Barcelona. The results of the first article reveal a fee reduction and an increase in minimum stay for all types of STRs, particularly stronger for entire dwellings and the accommodations offered by a professionalized host. Prompted by the increase in listings with minimum stays exceeding 30 days, the second article examines the impact on MTRs compared to STRs. Conversely the findings uncover an increase in fees and supply for MTRs during the pandemic, along with a more favorable occupancy trend. Moreover, compared to STRs, the host of MTRs and of accommodations that switch at least one time between both markets during the pandemic, are more likely to offer accommodations with fewer bedrooms, at a lower fee, and by a super host. The third article expands to country-level data. Using a hedonic price model and owing to unique micro-data from a real estate company, it uncovers the effects on the cities of Madrid and Barcelona, compared to the rest of Spain. From the results it is to highlight a drop in rental prices during the pandemic of 9% for Barcelona and Madrid. Nevertheless, this effect rebounds after the COVD-19 restrictions are lifted. Additionally uncovered was, that tenants with higher education levels and non-Spaniards with EU nationality faced a stronger price drop. While in terms of rental discounts, defined as the gap between listed and transaction prices, the results suggest an increase during the COVID-19 period. Conversely, after the restrictions were lifted, the discount figures dropped, reaching even lower levels then in the pre-pandemic period. This dissertation unveils varying responses of urban rental market to the pandemic, with the MTR market emerging as the most resilient. experiencing a growth in prices and supply. Furthermore, it contributes to the existing literature on the impact of the pandemic on rental markets, by being the first to empirically analyze the dynamics of an MTR market and the pandemic's influence on price discounts in the LTR market ​
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