Thousands of Portuguese demonstrate for affordable housing

In Lisbon and other Portuguese cities, thousands of people demonstrated on Saturday for a right to housing and demanded affordable housing and more social housing. “Housing: A right for all” or “A right or a privilege?” was written on the banners of the demonstrators.

“I live in constant fear that my landlord will announce a brutal rent increase,” said Ana Reis da Silva, a 32-year-old lawyer who has lived in the Portuguese capital for around 10 years.

“The rents must remain affordable,” demanded the 72-year-old pensioner Martinho Faias Parreira. He lives in a council flat in Lisbon, the rent for which has risen sharply in recent years.

The demonstrators demanded “a constitutional right to an apartment for everyone,” as the movement door to door explained, which had called for the demonstrations with other associations.

government responds

Amid the crisis in the housing market, the Portuguese government on Thursday approved a plan to increase the number of homes available in a country where 730,000 homes are empty or in danger of being demolished.

One of the government’s central measures is to stop issuing so-called gilded visas, which grant wealthy investors the right to stay. This is intended to curb real estate speculation.

According to the European statistics agency Eurostat, purchase prices for real estate in Portugal rose by more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2022, while rents rose by almost 25 percent.

The government’s housing plan also provides tax benefits for owners who offer vacation rentals in the housing market and tax benefits in the rental market. In addition, apartments in large cities that have been empty for more than two years are to be offered on the real estate market.

In addition, there are measures to support families groaning under the increased rents and installment payments for real estate loans.

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