This work constitutes a theoretically-informed empirical analysis of the spatial characteristics of the short-term rentals’ market and explores their linkage with shifts in the wider housing market within the context of a south-eastern EU metropolis. The same research objective has been pursued for a variety of international paradigms; however, to the best of our knowledge, there has not been a thorough and systematic study for Athens and its neighborhoods. With a theoretical framework that draws insight from the political-economic views of Critical Geography, this work departs from an assessment of Airbnb listings, and proceeds inquiring the expansion of the phenomenon with respect to the rates of long-term rent levels in the neighborhoods of Central Athens, utilizing relevant data. The geographical framework covers the City of Athens as a whole, an area undergoing profound transformations in recent years, stemming from diverse factors that render the city one of the most dynamic destinations of urban tourism and speculative land investment. The analysis reveals a prominent expansion of the short-term rental phenomenon across the urban fabric, especially taking ground in hitherto underexploited areas. This expansion is multifactorial, asynchronous and exhibits signs of positive relation with the long-term rentals shifts; Airbnb not only affects already gentrifying neighborhoods, but contributes to a housing market disruption in non-dynamic residential areas.
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