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Ratio of Airbnb apartments in Barcelona one of Europe's highest, says study

Capital has 12 flats for every 1,000 inhabitants, more than Rome and London, finds joint Catalan-Canadian report


15 January 2020 06:15 PM



The ratio of Airbnb accommodation per inhabitant in Barcelona is one of the highest in Europe, with almost 12 apartments for every 1,000 residents. That puts Barcelona above Rome (10) and London (7), though below Paris (28) and Florence (24).

This is one of the conclusions of a new study carried out by the University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia in conjunction with Canada's Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), which was published in the journal, 'Applied Geography'.

The areas of the Catalan capital with the highest concentration of tourist flat rentals are the northwest of the Ciutat Vella district, Vila de Gràcia, and some areas of the Eixample neighborhood, particularly in Sagrada Família. 

Higher house prices in some areas

The study also shows that the heavy presence of Airbnb accommodation in some areas, such as Raval, Poble-sec and Barceloneta, has led to a lower density of population, as well as a rise in house prices of between 68% and 133% from 2012 to 2018.

Family income, education level of the population, size of dwelling, and the number of tourist sites are all key factors that influence the geographical distribution of tourist accommodation, according to the data analyzed in the study using a statistical method.

The researchers conclude that Barcelona needs a stricter system to regulate these apartments, a review of tourist flat licenses, and new urban policies to deal with the strong growth of this type of accommodation in the city.

Airbnb at the heart of concerns about tourism

With one and a half million people staying in Airbnbs in Barcelona every year, the company has been at the heart of recent controversy and concerns about the 'touristification' of the city, which have even included protests by local residents.

In 2017, residents said tourism was at the top of their most pressing concerns about the city, with mayor, Ada Colau, running for office with a pledge to limit tourism, which has included such measures as a moratorium on building new hotels.

Last year, Barcelona city council threatened to fine over 2,500 illegal tourist apartments advertised on Airbnb, and claimed to have reduced the number of unlicensed flats in the city from around 6,000 to about 3,000.



  • Screenshot of Airbnb website results for tourist apartments in Barcelona

  • Screenshot of Airbnb website results for tourist apartments in Barcelona