April 12, 2018 by Eden Flaherty
The Week em Breve – April 12
Welcome to the Week em Breve! This week in Portugal: Hotels over Social Housing, Tourist Tax and Transport Traps, and a whole lot more.
More tourism, we’re sorry. It was revealed this week that the number of hotels in Lisbon has nearly doubled in 10 years. And this is just the start: even more are planned for this year to keep up with growing demand. Wave goodbye to that little bar you love — hotels are set to continue to dominate development in Lisbon.
Sintra has decided to make the most of this boom in hotels by introducing a tourist tax! Similar to Lisbon’s current levy on visitors, it will be introduced in Sintra from next year. The money will be used to regenerate the historical city center, with a focus on pedestrians over cars. A seemingly small price to pay to keep Sintra from falling down, especially as we residents need not pay it.
Portugal had the second biggest jump in house prices in the EU, with only Ireland experiencing a bigger surge. The fourth quarter of 2017 saw an increase of 10.5% compared with the previous year. This is a continuing trend, with bank valuations of house prices reaching their highest level since at least 2011. Alas, it doesn’t seem that house hunting will improve any time soon.
In response to rising house prices, Lisbon Mayor Fernando Medina announced that the Programa Renda Acessível will be rolled out across Lisbon to offer affordable housing. Rents will be calculated based on a family’s income, with T0 to T1s costing €150 to €200 and a T4 between €400 and €600. This program will see the public and private sectors come together, and the first apartments will be available next year. A step forward, perhaps, if only a small one.
It’s easy to talk about the boom in hotels, rocketing rental prices, and the need for social housing. But these issues have a profound impact on people trying to live in the city. If you want a little more insight into the sorry state of house hunting in Lisbon, check out this personal story by Marta Gonçalves Miranda for Observador.
Viseu is set to have the first electric, autonomous public transport as they replace their costly funicular with the futuristic Viriato. This is a step toward “smart cities” and provides cleaner, greener, and supposedly silent public transport. Could the hills of Lisbon soon be buzzing with the transport of the future? Probably not, it looks kind of ugly.
We may have turned to green tech too late, as the streets of Almada have taken it into their own hands to rid the city of cars! A vehicle was supposedly “swallowed” by a hole after a water pipe burst, also causing damage to local stores. Ok, so maybe this wasn’t the start of The Happening, but it certainly shows the poor state of infrastructure in Almada. This looks to be a very expensive regeneration project.