“The waltz of suitcases on wheels. “ This is the expression found by Patrick Amico, assistant for housing and the fight against unworthy housing in the city of Marseille, to evoke the ballet of tourists, which animates the streets of the Noailles district (1is arrondissement), every Friday evening and Saturday morning. In this very popular area of the city center, traumatized by the rue d’Aubagne disaster on November 5, 2018, when eight people died in the collapse of two buildings, the presence of seasonal rentals, reserved through Airbnb-type platforms, has been exploding for a few months. The symbol of a Marseille that attracts more and more visitors, but a phenomenon that amplifies the acute housing crisis that the city – and in particular its most popular areas – is experiencing.
Because the phenomenon does not affect only Noailles. The Panier and its narrow streets that climb, the Vallon des Auffes and its bridge, the surroundings of the Old Port also live to the weekly rhythm of the waltz of suitcases. “It is estimated that between 7,000 and 9,000 the number of seasonal rentals offered”, says Patrick Amico, acknowledging that “Precise figures are difficult to obtain due to the multiplication of plates–shapes ”. On Airbnb and Abritel, the analysis site AirDNA observes that Marseille is the second largest offer in France, with nearly 5,900 bookable ads at the end of November.
“We are not fighting against tourism, continues Mr. Amico. But these rentals have several impacts on an already very sensitive housing situation: they cause real estate prices to explode, especially on small surfaces. They lead, in turn, to an increase in the rents of goods which are becoming scarce on the rental market … And, in certain sectors, also prevent the application of the rental permit system and the security checks that accompany it. “ In Noailles, studios that traded around 80,000 euros in 2019 are now offered almost double to investors attracted by the return on tourist rental.
Rules drastically changed
In the race for regulation, Marseille started very late. Since the arrival at the helm of the Printemps Marseille team in summer 2020, it has been trying to align itself with other large French agglomerations. It first put the capacity to issue registration numbers that allow owners to legally integrate the platforms. And joined, at the beginning of 2021, the charter of collaboration with these same platforms, carried by the Minister for Housing, Emmanuelle Wargon. “Even if, for the moment, we do not have the means to efficiently process the data that could be provided to us », recognizes the deputy.
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