Riding the Tidal Wave of Transient Housing French Property Insider Volume XVII, Issue 46 Thursday, November 21, 2019 • Paris, France
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I must sound like a broken record, but it's impossible to ignore the news this week that first, Airbnb signed a $500 million sponsorship deal with the Olympic committee to cover the summer and winter games until 2028 (Tokyo, Beijing, Paris, Milan and Los Angeles) and then as a result of that announcement, Socialist Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo had a fit.
LOL or MDR (mort de rire). Why am I laughing? Because Anne is still trying to stop the tidal wave of change that she simply can't. She hasn't learned how to get on the proverbial board and ride the wave with an elegant form so that she lands on shore like hero. What a putz!
So, here's the deal: The Olympics need housing for its athletes and staff. Forget the tourists...let's talk about the deal that Airbnb has agreed to provide free accommodation to athletes and executives. That's BIG. Not only does it save the committee tons of money, but it saves them tons of housing headaches, too.
It seems ironic to me that on one hand, Anne heavily solicited the Olympics and all the benefits it brings to the city, but on the other hand, she doesn't want to accept the fact that it also brings transients, tourists, and many thousands of people who are not full-time residents who need housing. Where does she think she's going to put them? In hotels for months at a time? And you can bet the hotel industry is even more upset as it clearly eats into their cushy situation, already calling it "unfair competition."
LOL or MDR...I can hear the violins playing for such "woes." What's so unfair about this? They've had the monopoly for a very long time, so now it's time to shake things up, forcing the hotels to improve their services (just like Uber did for the average taxi service).
Anne is already in a legal battle with Airbnb over their lack of enforcing registration of every property with the city. And she is determined now to hold a public referendum on Airbnb’s presence in Paris if she wins re-election next year. (I do hope and pray she doesn't get re-elected in 2020.)
Here's the question: Are Airbnb investors (property owners) destroying Paris and the other European cultural capitals? This is why Anne is so upset. She and her cronies (mostly Ian Brossat, her housing assistant, who nearly choked when he heard the news) continue to promote the idea that Airbnb is taking housing away from residents and contributing to the high cost of rents. She claims it hurts the middle class, is a nuisance for neighbors, a loss for the hotel industry and the destabilization of businesses.
But, is that true, or just rhetoric she spews out and we buy it, hook, line and sinker?
According to a recent report in Euromonitor International, “short-term rentals have benefited from the consumer preference for authentic, local, off-the-beaten-track lodging options." Duh. CONSUMER PREFERENCE.
Aren't we all consumers? And aren't we all residents of some kind, whether here for one day, one week, one month, a year or a lifetime? Why is it that Paris or any major city, should be exclusive to only full-time residents? Why aren't they working toward housing all of us? It's not logical or reasonable or realistic to think they can be the world's most visited city, an international business center, and not provide housing for everyone who flows in and out of it. We are a new and very transient society. It is our newfound transiency that is one of the reasons Airbnb exists and has had such a meteorical rise (four percent of global lodging, overtaking major hotel players). Wake up, Anne!
Aren't we all looking to find jobs, improve our income and augment our lifestyles by working hard and making smart investments in our future? The truth is that profits are made when money changes hands. The moment the flow of money stops, so do the profits and there goes that spiral downhill...people earning less, spending less, hurting everyone and everything in the process. And guess what? That's when things get more expensive...less movement of property and therefore less property on the market, and then higher prices as inventory is reduced and demand increases. Even the hotel industry will tell you that they will limit the number of rooms in order to raise rates...that's how it works!
This is what we have today. Her very policies are what's contributing to her own demise. She's too buried in her point of view to see the light.
How do you suppose you keep the flow of money going and bring down the costs? By allowing free enterprise! Allow the consumers to make their own choices so there is a more natural tide that can be controlled, regulated, taxed, and enjoyed. Banning property owners from renting their own property, which provides housing of all sorts, which funds their coffers to make home improvements, to have a better lifestyle and encourage spending of those profits, is a much better way of supporting the middle class. Who does she think she is helping by not allowing owners to freely rent their property? It certainly isn't the middle class. They are the ones suffering the most from her archaic ideas to ban, battle, prevent...stop that tidal wave instead of riding it with grace.
Want another laugh, she's also thinking about a total ban on tourist furniture rental platforms in certain areas of the center of the capital! So, now it's not just the apartments; it's the furniture, too. Oy vey. Give me a break. (Can you see my eyes rolling?)
I so want the city officials to wake up and see the light, but I have no hope for that. But little by little, they will be drowned out by that tidal wave and we'll be riding the surf ourselves...with a bit of patience and our voting ballots.
BTW, you might find it interesting and enlightening: The Chambre de Notaires de Paris and GRIDAUH have organized a conference on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Salon Hoche (9 Avenue Hoche, Paris 8th) on the theme of the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2024. GRIDAUH is a public interest research group in the fields of spatial planning, urban planning and housing. Download the invitation here.
P.S. A reminder that there will be no edition of French Property Insider next Thursday, Thanksgiving Day — only one of two days the entire year that we don't publish this Nouvellettre®!
December's Après-Midi: December 10, 2019
Ella Dyer, Author
"Nice in Nice: Is a Lifetime Enough?"
Author of Nice in Nice: The day-to-day musings of a middle-aged housewife living "part-time" in the South of France, Ella Dyer is fond of saying "A lifetime in Nice is never enough!"
Over the past 35 years, Ella’s varied career path has taken her from working at the Playboy Mansion to earning an MBA from The International University of Monaco. She and her husband of nearly 30 years, Jody, found their apartment in Nice long ago and before the introduction of the Euro...
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