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In the Basque Country, seasonal rental prices continue to rise


DECRYPTION - The tourist craze is not weakening in this region where the price of tourist and seasonal overnight stays of the Airbnb type is still soaring.

Bayonne, Biarritz, Anglet.

This year again, these three Basque towns topped the rankings of the association “Towns and Villages where life is good” in the category of more than 2,000 inhabitants.

Guéthary retains its title in the list of smallest municipalities.

Awards that are the pride of local residents and politicians, but at the same time arouse criticism.

Because they risk accentuating the housing crisis in this region, and the subject divides more than ever.

The tags “Euskal Herria ez da salgai” (“the Basque Country is not for sale”) are flourishing, targeting new residents and especially owners of second homes.

Feet on the ground often made profitable by seasonal rentals.

Consequently, it is now necessary to spend sums comparable to those in Paris and other metropolises to acquire an apartment or house in this region between ocean and mountain, but also to spend holidays there.

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A night in Airbnb in Bayonne costs 94% more than in 2019

According to the ranking established for Le Figaro by AirDNA, the average price of overnight stays on Airbnb has jumped in most Basque municipalities.

Thus, it was necessary to pay an average of 170 euros per night last month in Anglet, 143 euros in Biarritz and 103 euros in Bayonne, amounts respectively up 89%, 66% and 94% since winter 2019.

In smaller towns close to Bayonne, such as Bassussarry and Mouguerre, where the offer is more made up of houses, prices have even more than doubled and average prices are now between 200 and 300 euros.

Including winter!

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The evolution is clear for the summer period as well: by comparing the months of August 2019 and 2022, we see increases of 50% in Anglet, 50% also in Hendaye, but more measured in Guéthary (+15%) and Bidart (+20%) where prices were already high.

Inflation does not only concern the coast.

The increase is also significant in the tourist towns of the hinterland, in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (+35% for the month of August 2022 versus 2019) and even 108% for Saint-Étienne- de-Baïgorry.

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In these towns in the hinterland, where the hotel offer is lower than on the coast, this rise in prices is not necessarily viewed with a negative eye.

Because it may be the consequence of actions undertaken by the urban community of the Basque Country (158 municipalities and nearly 300,000 inhabitants) which, without using the term overtourism, tries to motivate tourists to discover the hinterland to climb mountains other than La Rhune and survey the forest of Iraty, two hours from the waves.

Read alsoFaced with mass tourism, the Basque Country wants to take visitors off the beaten track

Increase in sight for the summer holidays

In the hinterland as on the coast, after good winter attendance in the department, the inflationary trend does not seem about to be reversed.

"We can already expect a price increase in accommodation, furnished accommodation and campsites, which have already increased their prices by 4% to 7% for the summer holidays", predicts

the tourism department agency 64.

“The charges have increased a lot, whether it is the cost of heating, renovation work, those related to the cost of acquisition at high prices here or the surtax

of the housing tax on second homes

(at the maximum rate 60% in many municipalities, editor's note).

This has led some owners not to offer their property for rent this winter, when one should normally offer lower prices.

They will focus on the period from April to October”

, observes Eric di Maggio, founder of the BNB Bask concierge service, which manages around fifteen apartments and not around sixty, or even more, like some of its competitors.

Scarcity is driving up prices: the number of properties offered in February has indeed been divided by three in Arbonne (41 properties), has decreased by almost a hundred units in Anglet (926) and even by nearly 700 in Biarritz (1921) .

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Strict regulations

Should we see the first effects of the new regulations on seasonal rentals?

Since March 1, in the

"tight zone"

made up of 24 municipalities (mainly coastal including Anglet, Bayonne and Biarritz), the authorization issued (for three years) for the rental of a secondary residence in furnished tourist accommodation is subject to The compensation.

That is to say the rental of another property for the year, but which must respect very specific conditions: the property must be a former business or office transformed into a dwelling, of equivalent surface area and located in the same municipality. .

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This new rule, almost impossible to satisfy, was decided by the Basque Country urban community to dissuade owners, while, according to it, the number of furnished rental ads jumped by 130% between 2016 and 2020.

“We don't have precise figures yet, but the phenomenon seems to have been stopped.

Our services, which have been expanded to be able to carry out more checks, are seeing a sharp increase in the number of questions from owners,” explains

Jean-René Etchegaray, president of the CAPB and mayor of Bayonne.

When in doubt, given the complexity of the rental procedure, some owners will abstain.

“They will keep the shutters closed.

It's a shame for families for whom the Airbnb offer is more suitable than the hotel, but also for the shops and restaurants which are now open ten months instead of two in the year, ”fears

Eric di Maggio.

Full-scale test

Like his peers, some of whom have unsuccessfully attacked the regulations in court, he does not dispute the fact of wanting to regulate a market where companies managing several apartments have taken a significant proportion, but doubts the effectiveness of the measures.

There is nothing to say that the owners of second homes will decide to withdraw their property from Airbnb to sell it to locals or rent it to a student nine months in the year.

This option is much less profitable, because the income from the seasonal rental is both higher, less taxed and the risk of non-payment is lower.

Above all, many apartments and houses are not suitable for year-round rental due to issues of insulation or proximity to neighbours, who are generally the owners.

This summer of 2023 will be a first full-scale test of the effect of the new regulations in this region where tourism represents two billion euros and 15,000 jobs.


- Behind the scenes of the Yellow Train, which crosses the heights of the Catalan Pyrenees

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-30

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