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Lisbon is Most Expensive City in Europe for Rental Accommodation

Even cost of renting room has become extortionate

Lisbon is currently the most expensive city in Europe for rental accommodation.

Considering Portugal’s low salary levels compared with the average European member State, the situation for everyday citizens has become untenable.

Last night on his regular Sunday evening slot, commentator and State advisor Luís Marques Mendes says he personally knows people who have had to move away from Lisbon after years of living in the capital, because they can no longer afford the spiraling (and essentially unjustified) cost of living there.

At the same time, the government’s ‘housing policy’ (still awaiting the president’s green light) has not only done nothing to limit rent/ property price increases, it has – according to Marques Mendes – served to spook landlords and see prices rising exponentially.

For now, the data provided by international consultancy Housing Anywhere has analysed 64 properties in 23 European countries.

According to the results, in the first half of this year, a T1 (one bedroom apartment) in the heart of town costs an average (to rent) of €2,500 per month, which is €200 more expensive than prices practised in Amsterdam, which up until this year was considered the most expensive city in Europe.

People who have given up even thinking of renting a whole property to themselves, are also finding that the prices of renting simply a room have risen around 30% recently, from an average of €425 per month to one of €525. It doesn’t seem long ago that students renting rooms in the capital were spending that amount … on an apartment (and considering it a drain on their parents’ resources).

And due to the fact that prices are so high, the smallest properties appear to be rising in price the most. According to the survey, the cost of studio apartments has risen ‘around 70%’.

Housing pressure groups like ‘Porta a Porta’ highlight another problem this rising cost of putting a roof over one’s head has created: increasing precarity – situations where three or four families rent a space that would normally serve for just one; as well as the notorious ‘hot bed’ scenarios, where immigrant workers, rent bed-space that has to be shared (people sleeping in shifts). It was one of these ‘hot bed’ establishments that went up in flames early this year, leading to the death of two recent arrivals from India, one of them a teenage boy.

Discussing these problems last night, Marques Mendes’ opinion is that there needs to be an agreement between the country’s major political parties to put a lid on this tendency, which is otherwise being left to run out of control.

Sky-high housing prices kill social mobility”, he added, bringing another factor into the mix. 

As President Marcelo has stressed, he has until August 29 to consider the government’s much criticised Mais Habitação (More Housing) policy which has really had little support from either the more extreme Left (which believe it panders to the banks) or the Right, which consider it far too authoritarian in certain clauses (enforced rentals of vacant habitable properties being one; new rules on AL short-term rentals another).

Luís Montenegro, leader of the PSD opposition (the only party large enough to have a hope of defeating PS Socialists at the next election) has already described the housing programme as “another sign of the total failure of the government”.

Marina Gonçalves, the minister for housing, however – the youngest minister in the history of Portuguese democracy – has said consistently that she believes the policy is ‘balanced’

Source : Portugal

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