Some people keep a free apartment for their children when they grow up, another plan to reconstruct it, and another just relay on the regular growth of the apartment’s value.
Many owners offer the apartment for short-term rent, which the city’s management has been trying to limit unsuccessfully for a long time.
Whatever the reasons, tens of thousands of vacant apartments can be found in the capital.
Last year, there were 93,627 of them, representing 13 percent of the total 721,332 apartments. This is based on data from the 2021 Census of Flats published by the Czech Statistical Office (CSO).
In the Czech Republic as a whole, statisticians record a total of 859 894 unoccupied flats, while the number of occupied ones is 4 480 139, according to the CSO.
The largest number of unoccupied flats, 120 215, is in the Central Bohemia Region. The reasons for holding an uninhabited apartment may be different. Even a landlord who decides to offer an apartment on the rental market does not win immediately.
Finding a solid and regular paying tenant is not easy. The law protects the tenant, but getting rid of rogue tenants is very difficult and can take many months.
Many tenants vandalize the apartment during their use, so that even the highest possible deposit of three months’ rent may not be enough to cover all the damage.
Many apartment owners, therefore, resign themselves to a regular annual rental income, which often exceeds CZK 100,000 per year, and make do with a “simple”; increase in the price of their apartment.
This growth reliably protects their finances from inflation, because the growth in the price of new flats exceeds the rate of inflation in the long term.
This is also true now, at a time of unprecedentedly high inflation, which has already exceeded 17%.
However, the price of new flats in Prague at the end of the second half of this year rose by 22 percent year-on-year.
Along with the rise in the price of new flats, rents are also rising. In Prague, rent in the first weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine jumped by up to 15 percent and its growth has not stopped.
The question is whether the ever-higher rents will persuade owners of unoccupied apartments to occupy them and thus increase their real estate yields. The situation with housing affordability, which has been very poor in Prague for a long time, could improve at least a little.