This paper estimates the impact of the Ukrainian refugee crisis, beginning with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, on rental and housing prices in the Polish cities of Warsaw and Krakow. Poland hosts the majority of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, most of whom have settled in the major cities. As of April 1, 2022, the population of Warsaw and Krakow increased by 15 percent and 23 percent, respectively.
In the absence of recent housing transaction data, the authors make use of listed offer prices and rents from the advertising portal (gratka.pl), gathered monthly from January 2018 to April 2022.
- Rents increased significantly since the beginning of the Russian invasion in both Warsaw and Krakow. In March and April of 2022, rents increased by around 16.5 percent in Krakow and 14 percent in Warsaw.
- However, similar effects were not observed in the case of housing prices. Housing prices rose by much less (by about 4 percent in Krakow and 1 percent in Warsaw).
- An analysis of causal impacts indicates a significant effect of the Ukrainian refugee crisis on the level of rent in both cities and housing prices in Krakow. However, the results for housing prices are not significant in the case of Warsaw.
- The rise in the rental market is unlikely to be due to random fluctuations.
The authors conclude that the rapid growth of the urban population in a short period led to a housing demand shock, that combined with limited supply caused an unprecedented rent increase.