“The main problem is, without a doubt, housing. We have cases of people completely thrown out on the street, not because they don't pay, but because the owners want the houses. Others, because they cannot pay”, José Ricardo Martins told Lusa agency.
The problem affects both national and foreign citizens in the parish of Almada, where there are already around 60 nationalities.
With the rent for a one-bedroom apartment absorbing a minimum wage, the population directly seeks help from the Parish Council, whether to pay for housing or other associated expenses (water, electricity, gas), but also food and school expenses.
“The main lack that I notice, not only for foreigners, but also for Portuguese people, has to do with the problem that I think is the biggest social plague in the country, with housing and with exaggeratedly high prices, even obscene, in terms of rent”, declared the mayor.
The solution, he recommends, is to build public housing, which takes time. He adds that in the Costa area, a large part of the land is private property or reserve area.
The problem is not exclusive to the parish, but giving the municipality of Almada as an example, Ricardo Martins said that thousands of people are waiting for the opportunity to get a house through a municipal program: “There is a huge number of families in Habit´Almada, which have an impact here on the coast. Registrations waiting at home, perhaps we are talking about 7,000 people”.
The mayor fears that the cases he is responding to in conjunction with the church and other partners may reflect what the year 2023 will be like. “If this escalation in terms of energy and inflation continues, obviously we will have problems similar to those that we had during the pandemic”, he estimated, indicating that 7,162 people were supported during this period, within the scope of the Social Commission created in 2016 with various partner entities.
"Despite having some cushion here, although not as much as necessary, in the increase in salaries... it will not be enough for people to be able to carry out their normal lives, even if they have to give up what is not so essential", he considered.
Solution is not social housing. That is a small patch for a big wound. House prices are sky high due to a decade of extremely low interest rates, and easy financing options. High rents are directly related to real estate prices. Real estate prices directly correlate to ability to finance loans. 100% loans at 1% sound nice but have a devastating effect. Less government spending, longer period of (normal) 7% interest rates should do the trick in a couple of years. Problem is that it will devastate the majority of home owners with a flexible rate (90% of mortgages in Portugal). Conclusion is that loose monetary policy saving the over indebted nations in EU led to a massive increase in money supply, skyhigh asset (real estate) prices. This is what happens when you kick the can down the road. Result is that the young generation cannot afford housing with their salaries and that the promising talent will get out of the country for better shores. A huge loss for the country.
By Robert from Lisbon on 08 Jan 2023, 20:19
Don’t forget the problem of the “golden visa” which are pushing up prices artificially high. In the Algarve more and more apartments are being built to sell to foreigners, these are sitting empty or being used for summer rentals. Problems will occur in the long run with Portuguese people being unable to afford to live in the Algarve. Who will clean, work tables in restaurants and cafes and work in shops? It’s a disaster waiting to happen, trouble is, this govenment can’t see it.
By Manuel from Algarve on 09 Jan 2023, 08:44
No "disaster"; the Socialists think that by importing unskilled workers from outside of Europe, the problem will be solved. As usual, those so called socialists have it very wrong. They should simply put up a sign FOR SALE and sell the country to those who know what it means to govern democratically and fairly.
By K from Other on 09 Jan 2023, 13:41
I read this article so I want to also add my opinion. I’m stay in Algarve Vilamoura here is also same problem. So much expensive of rent even we didn’t found. I look almost 9 month totally even I didn’t get apartament. Now here is big problem of apartment. Sometimes I feel so much depress and frustrated. I have 10 years old daughter n husband. We try too look apartament but I didn’t get . Dear who write this news plz it’s my personal request plz help me to find apartament.
By Suji from Algarve on 10 Jan 2023, 23:01
Mr. K from Other,
I'm guessing we, the Portuguese, should sell our country to people like you, right? You surely sound like the European someone who knows all about good ruling and democracy. It seems to me you also have a wide knowledge about arrogance too!
By Cris from Açores on 19 Jan 2023, 17:39