It takes six months on average before being able to rent a furnished studio apartment in Paris, according to recent data.
Many European cities are facing a crisis when it comes to the number of flats up for grabs in an ever-growing population.
The French capital is no exception. Yet while it’s not a new phenomenon, the rental market has never been so tense.
It takes six months on average to find, move into and rent a furnished studio apartment in Paris and rent prices rose by 1% in the third quarter of this year, according to data published by real estate agency Lodgis.
This limited increase can be explained by the fact that rents have been capped in Paris since 2019. In other major French cities, the rise has been much higher: Over 10% in Bordeaux and nearly 15% in Aix-en-Provence, according to Lodgis.
The surge is a natural result of supply and demand, said Alexis Alban, Lodgis’ president.
“The housing shortage is getting worse and demand is rising steadily,” Alban said in a statement.
“We are seeing confirmation of the return of international tenants, with students and mobile professionals continuing to opt for traditional long-term furnished rentals”, he added.
The difficulty people face in buying a home may be one explanation for this phenomenon.
To try and tackle the issue, the French government will extend its 0% interest rate loans for low-income families and will open it up to more people next year to help them get on the property ladder.
Six months to rent a studio in Paris
Almost three-quarters (73%) of professionals reported a fall in the number of properties available to rent compared to last year, according to a statement by France’s National Real Estate Federation (FNAIM), and 66% also saw an increase in demand.
“The increase in credit rates and the tightening of conditions imposed on borrowers prevent some tenants from accessing property; they stay in place longer, slowing down the mobility of the stock,” said Loïc Cantin, FNAIM’s president, in August.
He also mentioned constraints on landlords that make them want to “throw in the towel” and sell their properties.
The tension in the rental market is feeling even more pressure due to the 2024 Olympic Games, which will see an influx of visitors, volunteers and teams descend on Paris.
The government faced intense criticism when it decided to force out over 2,000 students from their rent-controlled apartments - dedicated to them specifically - to host Olympic staff during the summer.
A student union took the case to court, where an administrative judge suspended the requisition.
Europe’s on-going housing crisis
Paris isn’t the only European city experiencing a severe housing shortage.
In London, the average rent for a one-bedroom flat in the city centre is now nearly €2,500 per month, while the median monthly salary in the UK is €2,600.
The same thing is happening in Amsterdam, with the average rent being over €1,500 per month - more than a third of the average salary in the Netherlands.
It’s low-income households and young people who are most acutely feeling the burn from the impact of the housing crisis.
To address the situation, some cities have opted for different solutions.
Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam and Amsterdam and other cities decided to crack down on Airbnb-style rentals that are believed to fuel the lack of rental properties available on the market.
Berlin has lifted its ban on Airbnb but strict rules - enforced with hefty fines - remain.
Another solution is to tax vacant properties to discourage landlords from keeping homes empty and coax them into renting them out.
In Europe, Spain paved the way with its first-ever national “right to housing” law - adopted last year - which included a tax for owners leaving accommodation unrented for lengthy periods.
The French government followed this year with a similar tax for cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants.
Across the Atlantic, Vancouver in Canada and Washington, DC in the US have adopted a similar measure, with other cities like San Francisco and Honolulu considering the same.