Portugal acts against the housing crisis with a series of shock measures

End of golden visas“, headlines the Portuguese newspaper Log of Negotiations. The Portuguese government adopted measures on March 30, 2023 that put an end to visas for wealthy foreign investors in order to stem the serious housing crisis. In recent years, the country has experienced an explosion in property prices. Rents, for example, have soared in five years, with an increase of more than 40% between 2017 and 2022, according to the National Institute of Statistics.

Lisbon more expensive than Rome

In 2022, real estate prices have experienced the strongest increase ever recorded in the Portugal, or more than 13% over one year, again according to the Institute. The average price of houses sold in the country grew by 12%, rising to 189,000 euros per unit. In total, nearly 168,000 homes were sold, for an amount of 31.8 billion euros. This is the first time that this threshold has been exceeded. The number of foreign buyers jumped 20.2% in 2022 compared to the previous year, with more than 10,000 home sales and a total of 3.6 billion euros.

Lisbon, the capital, has become more expensive per square meter (4,715 euros in 2022) than MarseillesRome or Brussels, showed the Portuguese magazine Visao, which was based on a comparative study of 36 European cities carried out by Deloitte. In addition, the government has identified 730,000 dilapidated or vacant homes in the country.

Compulsory rental of vacant apartments

To respond to this crisis, Prime Minister António Costa presented a housing plan in mid-February 2023, a large part of which is devoted to the rental market. An envelope of 900 million euros has been released to respond to these housing problems. Among these measures, the flagship one of stopping “golden visas” made the Portuguese press react. Since its launch in 2012, the residence permit program for investment activities had authorized the issuance of more than 11,700 visas to foreign citizens. The latter had brought the State 6.8 billion euros. Eighty-nine percent of these residence permits only allowed the purchase of real estate.”There were job creations in only 22 cases“, specified the Head of State.

Other measures are planned, including that of offering tax advantages for owners agreeing to place seasonal rentals on the residential market and favorable taxation for the long-term rental market, indicates AFP. Another concerns the compulsory rental of apartments that have been vacant for more than two years in the most populated regions. All these proposals, although adopted by the government, will be submitted to Parliament. The latter is dominated by the Socialists, the party of António Costa.

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