Tag Archive for: foreigners

Lisbon is more expensive than Barcelona, Madrid, or Milan

Portugal’s property market is booming but the damage inflicted on the social fabric of the big cities is profound. Unaffordable rents and purchase prices are hitting not just those on subsistence prices and pensions, but ordinary workers and their families.

The actual situation can be traced to the 2008 debt crisis after which the country was required to deregulate in order to entice foreign investment. In 2012 the former conservative government of Passos Coelho liberalized the real estate sector. Within five years rents in Lisbon skyrocketed.

That same year the golden visa program was ushered in offering residency permits in exchange for real estate acquisitions worth 500,000 euros or more.
A separate ‘non-habitual residency scheme’ was also brought in, which gave foreign citizens, who spent half a year in the country, a 10-year tax break on income earned elsewhere. As interest from abroad began to grow, demand outstripped supply pushing house prices up and people with average income out.

Besides the golden visa program and the non-habitual residency scheme, the expansive growth of Airbnb-style short-term rentals (Alojamento Local) in the urban centers further reduced the housing supply.

Portugal is among the EU countries where housing prices almost doubled in the last decade. Between 2010 and 2022 sales prices went up by 80% while rents rose by 28%. In the eurozone increases during this period were respectively 50% and 18%. Even last year the prices of residential property in the country rose 19% , the biggest increase in 30 years.

Buying or renting a house in Lisbon these days is becoming even more expensive than in some of the main European cities. Last year the average price per square meter of houses for sale in the capital surpassed that of Madrid, Barcelona, and Milan and only in Paris and Milan is renting a house more expensive than in Lisbon.

Although the Socialist Government of António Costa recently approved a National Housing Program allocating nearly 3 billion euros – thanks to EU funding from Brussels – to reinforce the public housing stock until 2026, associations that fight for the right to housing consider that the program is not enough to solve the problem.

‘Moreover, we identified some gaps in the bill, from benefits for certain groups (rich foreigners who can buy at prices that Portuguese families cannot afford) to the exclusion of migrants and refugees’, declares Maria João Costa, on behalf of housing rights organization Habita.

For this year a slowdown in the rise of house prices is expected. According to Moody’s house prices may fall by up to 3% whereas S&P Global Ratings predicts that Portugal will be one of the European countries that will feel the most intensive fall in house prices (-4.4%) this year.

Enjoy the week                     Aproveite a semana            (pic Público/Sapo)

Migration is a right, not a privilege’ – António Guterres, UN Secretary-General

The socialist-led government of Antonio Costawants attracts more immigrants to compensate for a declining population due to an extremely low birth rate. It moreover stimulates highly-qualified Portuguese – who have emigrated – to return to the homeland with bonuses up to 7500 euros.

According to the latest census, Portugal had at the beginning of this year 10.3 million inhabitants. Over the last ten years, the country lost 2.1% of its population as a result of a negative balance between births and deaths.
Meanwhile the number of ex-pats –nowadays over 7% of the population – increased substantially in the last ten years. Among the foreigners residing in Portugal, 80% originate from countries outside the EU.

The INE (National Institute of Statistics) reported that a total of 27,000 Portuguese emigrants regressed to their home country last year. The highest number since 2008!
Family and climate prove to be the main reasons for emigrants in Europe to return, according to the study ‘Return expectations of Portuguese residents in the EU by the Emigration Observatory.
The most important reasons given for leaving Portugal in the past were low wages, lack of career advancement, and poor social benefits.

Portugal has the second-highest naturalization rate in the EU after Sweden.
The nationalization rate is the ratio of the number of persons who acquire citizenship of a country during a year over the number of non-national residents in that same country.
The highest rates were registered in Sweden(8.6 citizenships granted per 100 non-national residents), followed by Portugal (5.5%) and the Netherlands (4.8%).

Last year civil registry offices received almost 200,000 applications for a Portuguese passport, almost double as in previous years! According to the Immigration and Border Service (SEF), Portuguese nationality was granted in 134,000 cases, mainly to Brazilians and Sephardic Jews. The former Portuguese colonies – Cape Verde, Angola and Guinea-Bissau – completed the top 5.

The Ukrainian community is now the second largest foreign resident community in Portugal behind the Brazilian. Before the Russian invasion, official figures pointed to some 27,000 Ukrainians living in Portugal.
In the meantime, this number has doubled.

But not only has there been a substantial increase in the number of foreign residents and Portuguese returning to their patria, the number of Portuguese leaving the country also declined. 70% fewer Portuguese moved in 2020 to the UK, the country’s top spot emigration destination.
‘Never since the beginning of the century has the drop in the Portuguese emigration to the UK been that high’, says Rui Pena Pires of the Emigration Observatory. A clear effect of the Covid pandemic but also of (post)Brexit.

Enjoy the week                     Boa semana                 (pic Público/Sapo)