Innovation in the regulation of local lodging has made Portugal a case study. Short term holiday letting is an integral part of the current Portuguese tourism boom. Dilapidated heritage districts in Lisbon and Oporto have a new lease on life with private investment driving much needed restoration. As with any phenomenon of rapid and disorderly growth, distortions have emerged. But this should not be a pretext to kill the chicken that lays the golden egg.
The Government plans to create a priority process within “SEF” (Immigration and Borders Service) to accelerate the granting of Golden Visas. Currently, many of these potential investments are going to Spain due to excessive delay in Portugal, where applications take as much as ten months for approval. So far this year, investments have already fallen by around 60%. In 2016, Spain attracted €1.1 billion as compared to €873 million in Portugal.
Living in Lisbon is increasingly expensive. The tourist boom in recent years has triggered rental price hikes in the country’s capital. The latest study reveals that apartment leases rose 23% in 2016, to an average of €830 per month. In the Chiado district, purchase costs average €6,700 per square metre.
With all political parties submitting their own proposals, the parliamentary calendar will only consider changes to the law governing of local lodging next year. The ruling Socialist Party wants to make permission dependent on the approval of neighbors in condominiums.
According to latest estimates (February 2017), there are now over 33,700 Local Lodging establishments in Portugal. Of these, the overwhelming majority – more than 77% – are concentrated in the Algarve, according to “Confidencial Imobiliário”.
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