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Growth in medium-term lets? Airbnb-like company expands into the UK

Flatio, a Czech-Republic-based mid-term lettings platform, has announced that it has acquired digital nomad housing marketplace NomadX in a move worth £3.6 million.

The deal will see Flatio take on NomadX’s inventory of apartments, staff and social platforms as the company plans to accelerate growth in the UK. The PropTech company, which turned over £4.5 million last year, aims to have at least 10,000 UK property listings on its inventory in the next three to five years.

As part of the deal, all property listings, management and transactions will be centralized on Flatio's technology platform after a transition period of several weeks.

While the NomadX-branded housing marketplace will continue to exist, it will be powered by Flatio and expand to all of Flatio's markets.

Flatio currently has 9,000 listings across 17 countries and 60 cities, while NomadX has 1,700 in Portugal alone. Both startups, though, planned expansion in the UK before the pandemic hit. 

“We noticed a lot of interest from the UK during the pandemic,” Flatio chief executive Radim Rezek said.

“It seems that a combination of uncertainty and more remote working opportunities is creating a boom in the mid-term rental sector. We only have 150 listings in the UK at the moment, but plan to ramp this up significantly in the next three to five years as we believe the demand for affordable mid-term lets will continue to grow in the UK and globally post-pandemic."

He added: “If we compare data three months before the pandemic hit to three months after, we've seen almost a 60% rise in visitors from the UK to our platform. This shows there is a real desire for one-six month rental properties both in the UK and overseas."

"NomadX already has a significant database of digital nomads, including many from the UK, so we hope the move will accelerate growth and establish us as the number one medium-term letting platform in the world.”

Flatio says it has recorded 100% growth in revenue from its best-performing cities, 20% growth in global bookings, and more than 30% growth in landlords across all markets, when comparing the first three quarters of 2019 with the first three quarters of 2020.  

The platform offers month-by-month lettings to allow professionals, students and remote workers the opportunity to live in over 60 cities and 17 countries around the world, including Prague, London, Vienna, Paris and Budapest.

It operates in a similar way to Airbnb, but it doesn't charge deposits and relies mainly on individual landlords, which make up 78.5% of its listings. Other features include unified lease agreements, bilingual lease agreements, online lease signing, 360 VR tours and a smart-pay app that enables landlords to know when they've received payment and alerts tenants when rent is overdue. 

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