Until the coronavirus pandemic, a rising number of world cities were suffering from affordable housing problems.
In some cities, overheated housing markets have attracted investors acting from purely speculative reasons. With short turnarounds in mind, speculators often prefer to avoid the hassle of tenants. They leave the housing vacant. This has led to some cities imposing “empty housing” penalties of one kind or another. The City of Vancouver in Canada has recently made a success of this practice, helping to cool the overheated housing market and at the same time raising revenue that is being directed towards affordable housing construction. Try: City Of Vancouver Successfully Puts Idle Homes To Work
There is also a rise in short term rentals such as airbnb, which have enticed landlords with the promise of higher profits from serving tourists, compared to longer term rentals for locals. The arrival of COVID-19, however, has dramatically reduced the number of tourists in many, if not most, countries. This has led to landlords with empty housing and few or no short term renters in sight for an uncertain future. Some may be encouraged to return to the long term local renting market. Others seem prepared to tough out the crisis. As a result, several jurisdictions are working actively to promote the return of rental accommodation to long term local needs. Recently, we’ve looked at two ‘incentives’ aimed at empty accommodations, one a carrot: Lisbon’s Answer To High Rents For Essential Workers, the other a stick: Beating Affordable Housing Out Of Cities. After the Carrot Comes The Stick
Here is a more in depth look at the SRT “disease” that has infected affordable housing in Europe: In the Intelligencer: The European Cities Using the Pandemic As a Cure for Airbnb