Everyone needs a home, and high demand for rental flats across European cities has contributed to make housing a very attractive investment. The total investment into residential real estate in Europe increased more than 700 per cent between 2009 and 2020, from 7.9 to 66.9 billion euros, according to data by Real Capital Analytics.
Where is all that money coming from? Who are the companies and investors buying so much housing across Europe? How many homes do corporate landlords own, buy and sell in our cities? How does this phenomenon affect people’s lives and homes around Europe?
To answer those questions, Arena for Journalism in Europe has since October 2020 hosted and coordinated Cities for Rent: Investigating Corporate Landlords Across Europe, a collaborative investigation initially involving journalists and media partners across 16 European countries.
More than 60 stories have so far come out of the investigation and been published by 14 media outlets – but the job is not done.
We are now launching a new website where we share our methodology and approach to data visualisation, and we also make available a data catalogue including all the datasets we have been working with, including those we had to build ourselves from scratch.
Our aim is to help more journalists, and also academic and other researchers, to carry out similar investigations and find relevant data focusing on more cities and on particular corporate landlords.
If we can get more data and make them available, the new Cities for Rent website could become a collaborative research hub for journalists and other investigators.
Because we believe in transparency and in honest collaboration, we also describe the limitations of our methodology and the challenges we have faced to get meaningful and comparable data about different cities.
By explaining our methodology and the difficulties, we believe the Cities for Rent website may also be a useful resource to teach data and collaborative journalism.
If you have any questions or comments, or if you want to carry out a similar investigation or contribute data about this topic, please get in touch with us.
See the intro video for the “Cities for Rent” project