Welcome to the Week em Breve! This week in Portugal: Subway Sabotage, Lime Scooter Crime, Punting Pensioners, the Real Estate Roller-Coaster, Packs of Vicious Dogs, and much more!
Major Mischief on the Metro
We often complain about the Lisbon metro, despite it actually being pretty good. As it goes, our complaints may be misdirected, what with the revelation that there could be a saboteur at work. Three breakdowns on the green line in three days, always in the morning, led police to suspect that there may be foul play. The police searched the metro workshops, but as of yet there is no information about whether sabotage occurred, and if it did, who is responsible.
Will You Do Time for Your Lime Crime?
If you have left your apartment to walk the streets of Lisbon in the last two months, you will have noticed the swarm of electric scooters that now fly down city streets. If you haven’t, you probably need to get out more. Lime is responsible for rolling out these scooters across several European cities, some of which are now cracking down on the seemingly unregulated electric vehicles. In a similar situation to what we saw with oBike in Lisbon, Madrid has given Lime three days to remove the scooters from the street. Could this happen in Lisbon? Perhaps, but there is a big effort to avoid it from Lime, which rolled out a campaign called #RespectTheRide. That said, the Police (PSP) have announced that they will be paying special attention to the enforcement of the highway code for electric scooters and bikes. The scooters have surprisingly strict rules, including mandatory helmets, lights, and reflectors, a ban on the use of mobile phones, and a requirement to obey speed limits. Infringing any of these can carry a heavy penalty — just riding without a helmet could set you back up to 300€. Additionally, the scooters may only be driven on roads and cycle paths, not sidewalks, and can only legally carry one person. Moreover, they may not be parked on sidewalks or any public transport stops — this could result in a fine of up to 150€.
If You Can’t Trust the Communists, Who Can You Trust?
The Portuguese Communist Party has been accused of trying to evict Comissão Unitária de Reformados e Idosos da Ajuda from their building for the sake of monetary gain. The group, who work with pensioners and the elderly, has been in the building since 2003, and claims that the PCP recently acquired the shop and told them that they had to leave so work could take place to “monetize” the space. The PCP says that there is no eviction process, and while the group must leave in order for work to be done, there is no plan for them to be permanently removed.
The Rough Ride of Real Estate Adjustment
Residential real estate prices have maintained an upward trend for the past five years, with a 33% increase since 2013. However, a recent report by the Bank of Portugal notes that there has been a slowdown recently. The report states that there is some overvaluation of real estate, albeit limited, with certain geographical areas more affected than others. It’s argued that this increase is in line with other Euro countries, and is, in fact, an adjustment following the economic crisis. The Bank of Portugal warns, however, that an abrupt adjustment could pose a threat to the stability of the banking sector.
Moody’s House Price Predictions
Despite signs of slowing, real estate prices are still expected to rise over the next two years 7% to 8%, Moody’s says. According to the rating agency, these increases will be due to a gap between supply and demand driving both commercial and residential real estate prices in certain areas. These areas seem to be Lisbon and Porto, which have seen an acceleration in house prices of 47 % and 34% respectively since the beginning of 2016.
Giving up on the House Hunt
According to a recent study, 19% of Portuguese house-hunters eventually gave up. Interestingly, only 31.9% pointed to increased prices as a reason for abandoning their plan for purchase. The primary reason given by 41.6% of respondents was that they simply hadn’t found the right house, and 9% reported that they decided that this wasn’t a good time to buy.
Alojamento Local Leases Slip Through the Net
More bad news on the real estate front. Despite rules coming into effect at the beginning of November that banned the registration of new alojamento local in Lisbon’s historic center, some are still slipping through. This is due to the fact that, unlike on Airbnb, a registration number is not required on platforms like Booking.com. The council’s solution is to persuade platforms to implement a similar system of registration to Airbnb. That said, there have already been 27 licenses automatically rejected in the first month, which puts into perspective just how many properties are being flipped to AL. In the historic center, 41% of homes are already AL, which is well above the legal 25%, according to Jornal de Negócios. The council disputes this number, saying it is yet to reach 40%.
PSA: If You Go up to the North Today, You’re Sure of a Big Surprise
If you’re reading this, you’re probably based in Lisbon, and as such this next bit of news won’t affect you. However, it seems worth noting that a little further north in Portugal, Aveiro to be precise, there are packs of feral dogs attacking residents and tourists! One resident reported fending off 13 dogs before eventually fleeing into the ocean, while a tourist was spotted with torn pants and bloodied legs. The police and council are currently looking into a solution that would place the dogs in centers.
Super Bock Super Rock Returns to Meco
Finally, some good news for the festival-goers out there! One of the biggest complaints at this year’s Super Bock Super Rock was that it had been moved from Meco. Well, it looks like it’s going right back! For the 25th anniversary, they will be returning to their beach-side venue, which is sure to please SBSR fans.
Think we missed an important story? Let us know in the comments!