In the space of just over a year, following the abysmal impact that the coronavirus has had on all of us, we have had to completely turn our lives around. Not only in the way that we interact with our friends, family and neighbours; also in terms of work or day-to-day tasks.
A transformation that we maybe could never have imagined beforehand and that has also affected the rental market: apartment sales, the process of formalising contracts, the price and even the trends in demand.
In fact, we only have to take a look at the number of homes being rented before and after lockdown, which in some cities like Madrid and Barcelona, increased by more than 60%. The almost complete paralysis of the tourism sector was, to a large extent, the reason behind this increase, as it forces many home owners into long term rent.
But the pandemic has brought us many other changes that have come to be the norm, at least for the time being:
- Tenant preferences
Spending so many hours at home during lockdown made many people reconsider what their priorities were in terms of future rentals. Now more than ever, size matters and there is a clear tendency to prioritise larger apartments, even though this means forfeiting central locations. There is also more demand for larger common spaces and communal areas in shared housing; better lighting and ventilation; terraces have become more important as well as balconies, patios and other out-door communal areas; and finally, we want well-connected houses. What would have come of us in those months if we didn't have internet?
- Rental prices
In recent years, we have seen rental prices dramatically increase, especially in larger cities. However, the pandemic seems to have not only contained this increase, as there have been many decreases also. In this context, the rent intervention measures that have been carried out in cities such as Berlin, Paris, Dublin and Barcelona don't seem to be having a clear impact on income, but they have to be present going into the future.
- Market digitalisation
The rental market, like everything else around us, has seen an acceleration in terms of digitalisation. Business is more digital than ever before and so are the consumers. At Spotahome, we are really proud to have been pioneers and to have opted for a model that was way ahead of it's time back in 2014. Restrictions on movement and the fact that it was impossible to do in-person house viewings, proved one thing that we already knew: our platform offers maximum levels of trust and security so that our tenants and home owners can formalise a contract through a process that is completely online.
- The situation with apartments
The search for more spacious apartments, with terraces, light and communal areas, has brought with it the rediscovery of the outskirts of larger cities. The urban city centers, with homes that are usually smaller and less comfortable, have lost their attraction, even though we don't know how long for.
- "Covid Clause" in contracts
Finally, it's worth mentioning one of the most attention-grabbing changes of this year: the Covid clause. It is a legal mechanism that allows the termination of any contract for reasons related to the health crisis, without negatively affecting the tenant at all. On their part, the owner, together with the tenants, establishes any necessary conditions that can lead to said contract termination.
In conclusion, Covid-19 has introduced numerous changes that, a couple of years ago, we would have never even dreamed of. However, it is possible that many of these changes are here to stay and we must take them into account when it comes to renting an apartment. If you are a homeowner, here at Spotahome we work with you and assist you throughout the whole process so that you can resolve it with the utmost flexibility and guarantee.