According to HousingAnywhere’s latest Rent Index Q1 2020, as most of the world’s economies are reeling from the impact of the corona crisis, the effects on the European rental markets are starting to show – with previously accelerating rental prices coming to a stop. While January and February still mostly show a continuation of the trends that were visible in Q4 with rents increasing, March saw the first declines in rental prices, consequently breaking the trend.

The development of rental prices has been reduced to a minimum in most cities and the number of available rental properties is increasing. In cities like London and Amsterdam, notorious for their high rental prices, rents showed the smallest increase since 2015 by 0.5% and 0.1% respectively. Barcelona is showing its first drop in rental prices since 2013, with a quarterly rental price development of -0.1% for one-bedroom apartments and -0.8% for single rooms.

In Q1 of 2020, Vienna saw the highest overall YoY increase in rent: 11.5% for apartments, bringing the monthly rent to an average of € 1,016, and an increase of 10.4% for studios, to € 839 per month. The increase is for a large percentage the result of higher-priced accommodation making the switch from the short-term rental market. Vienna has recently installed a short-term rental zoning legislation. This legislation prohibits landlords in certain areas (zones) from renting out short-term rentals. A more representative increase in the market is seen reflected in the price for single rooms, which were up by 2.5% to € 482 per month.

Madrid saw the second-highest overall increase in rent prices year over year. Apartment prices increased by 4.7% to € 1,150. Prices for studios climbed by 5.4% to € 847 and single rooms by 8.1% to € 546. Increasing popularity has secured a positive development in rental prices for this quarter; due to the uncertain political climate in Catalonia, the overall demand for Barcelona has been under pressure, leaving Madrid to be considered a more preferred choice by tenants.

In third place ranks Berlin, where rental prices for apartments have increased by 4.3% to € 1,144 compared to last year; an increase of a mere 0.1% compared to last quarter. Studio prices increased by 7.7% to € 893 and the average rental price for a single room increased by 5.9% to € 581. In February of this year, the Mietendeckel (rent ceiling) was activated, causing landlords to lower their prices. While many landlords are waiting as the Mietendeckel is still to be ruled over by the highest court in Germany, other landlords fear that they have to pay overcharged rent back to their tenants and reduce their rent.