The average monthly price of offered Airbnb rentals in Qatar for a stay during the World Cup has reached $72,396.
After evicting tenants and raising rents on short-notice, landlords in Qatar are listing their properties on Airbnb and Booking.com with prices that far exceed four million QAR.
The average monthly rent price in the country for the month of September is $34,106, compared to a whopping $72,396 during the tournament – a 112% increase.
Landlords are keen to reap the benefits of Qatar hosting the region’s first ever World Cup. During the tournament, most one-bedroom flats in the Pearl are currently priced at more than $1,000 per night on Airbnb. According to ValuStrat, these flats are renting for an average of 9,500 riyals ($2,580) per month, up from 8,000 riyals in the fourth quarter.
The California-based company Airbnb is an online marketplace for lodging, primarily home-stays for vacation rentals and tourism activities.
Residents in popular neighbourhoods in Qatar say they are being forced to accept rent increases of up to 40% as well as two-year contracts. Some say they’ve been forced to move after years of tenancy due to rents they can no longer pay.
First-quarter rents increased 3.3%, aided by a recent jump in demand, while average prices on The Pearl island increased by 19%, according to ValuStrat statistics. Housing was the second-largest contributor to a 5.4% June inflation rate in Qatar, where prices are now rising faster than in any other Gulf Arab country due to its hosting of the World cup.
During the last FIFA World Cup, home-sharing giant Airbnb welcomed over 277,000 guests across homes in Russia – four times more than the same period in 2017, with 76% of its guests coming from abroad, primarily from the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Peru.
According to a statement by Airbnb in 2018, the pricing point for each reservation, which is normally three to four nights, averaged $55.27 per person for a single night.
Despite that, fans at the time stated their displeasure with the high prices.
Now, FIFA has secured thousands of hotel rooms and attached apartments for players, staff, and other officials in Qatar. Local organisers have also reached agreements with property owners to reserve over 60,000 residences for fans.
“As prices are rising we see the game is played as a domino effect, one follows after another. We’ve tried to advise our hosts to lower the prices. But at the end of the day it’s not in our control to tell our hosts what price their place,” said Ramy Morsy, co-founder of BaytTravels.
Like Airbnb, his company is an online platform offering rental for vacation homes in Qatar.
“From how we see the market is shifting, we believe the peak of the accommodations market for the World Cup will be mid September when prices will be at its highest and most private companies will release the accommodations. From then on prices will start to drop or stay the same but subtle,” he added.
Regarding the possibility of offering real estate for rent outside the accommodation reservation portal during the World Cup, which was announced by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, the committee explained that fans from outside Qatar can book their accommodation through the official host country platform.
However, they can also book through other means outside the framework of the host country platform, such as rental websites.
Accommodation options for World Cup fans in Qatar range from 3, 4 and 5 star hotels, luxury apartments and villas, floating hotels, fan villages, cabins, holiday homes or accommodation with relatives and friends.
In an interview with the Qatar News Agency Nasser Al-Khater, CEO of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, said that housing has been provided to all World Cup fans at prices suitable for all groups, and there is a periodic update of prices, noting that there are new apartments starting at $80 only a night.
Ministry of Commerce and Industry Decision No. 46 of 2021 set the maximum prices for renting hotel rooms and similar places during Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, according to what was published in the Official Gazette issued by the Ministry of Justice in its issue No. 12.
The decision set the maximum wages for hotel rooms and similar places, during the period from November 1, 2022 until December 21, 2022, which is the period of the Qatar World Cup 2022, as follows:
“Rental prices start from 464 QAR and up to 2801 QAR, where The maximum limit is for standard hotel apartments 464 QAR, standard luxury hotel apartments 537 QAR, special luxury hotel apartments 1222 riyals QAR, two-star and one-star hotels stood at 296 QAR, and 4-star regular hotels should be 482 QAR.
“Special 4-star hotels are 886 QAR, standard 5-star hotels are at 911 QAR, special 5-star hotels 1488 QAR, luxury 5-star hotels 2133 QAR and 5-star independent resorts 2801 QAR.”
However, with prices skyrocketing beyond this, it is unclear what the legal implications facing the landlords will be, if any.