According to a report by ECO, the number of new building permits fell 10.9%, to 6200, and the number of completed buildings dropped by 2.9%, to 3700, according to the National Statistics institute (INE). There was also a fall of 2.4% compared the first quarter of 2019, pre-pandemic.

An annual decrease of 11.1% was noted, and licensing for building rehabilitation works decreased by 10.2%.

"Of the total building permits issued, 76.1% were new constructions and of these, 81.7% were for family housing. The buildings licensed for demolition (364 buildings) corresponded to 5.8% of the total number of buildings licensed in the first quarter of 2023," stated the INE.

The Algarve and Madeira increases

Whilst decreases were noted across the country, the Algarve and the Autonomous Region of Madeira showed an increase in the total number of building permits issued. The Algarve saw a 12.2% increase and Madeira an increase of 1.6%.

Decreases were seen across the remainder of the country, with the biggest being in the Lisbon metropolitan area (-15.7%), followed by the North (-13.3%) and in the autonomic region of the Açores (-12.8%).

Completed buildings

According to the INE, 3700 buildings were completed in Portugal, including new constructions, improvements, alterations and reconstructions reflecting a drop of 2.9% compared to the same period in 2022, but up 9.4% from the same trimester in 2019.

Family housing

Statistics from the INE showed that the majority of finished buildings were new constructions and 77.1% were designated for family housing.

The areas that demonstrated a rise in the number of finished buildings were the autonomic regions of Madeira (39.5%) and the Açores (10.8%), the Alentejo (5.3%), and the Centre of Portugal (1.9%). The biggest decreases occurred in the North of the country (-12.1%).

The number of building permits rose 13.3% in comparison with the final quarter of 2022, yet the number of completed buildings fell by 1.8%.

A month-on-month analysis by the INE noted, “There is a trend towards a continuous reduction in building permits from October 2022 onwards”. February registered the biggest fall at -16.9%, compared to the previous month.