Last year, the number of Local Housing Units (AL) registered in the Lisbon District fell for the first time, albeit slightly, as marked by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the Association of Local Accommodation in Portugal (ALEP), there was a negative net balance of 0.5% between new openings and cancellations of registrations, which corresponds to 130 units.
According to ALEP, this reduction was concentrated in the municipality of Lisbon with 114 fewer units (year-end according to official data with 19,358 units). In 2019, when the market in this region was already slowing after a sharp surge that led to controversy and was linked to the creation of safe zones, the district’s net growth was 2,373 records.
A total of 597 registrations have been canceled, but ALEP President Eduardo Miranda says many more units were absent from this deal and entering the housing market as there were fewer advertisements in Lisbon for houses related to the AL than 2019. “The added value and the fear of losing registration [de AL] This definitely means that many registrations will not be canceled even though the property is already destined for another use such as living or family housing, ”reads the analysis of this association entitled Local Housing in Times of the Pandemic: Balance and Prospects.
The decline seen in Lisbon was an isolated incident at the national level, but in the Porto district the market almost stagnated with net growth of 0.9%. According to the ALEP, this corresponds to an increase of 100 units, “practically everything outside the city of Porto”, as only seven units in the municipality showed a positive balance “.
Together, the two municipalities account for nearly 30% of the market at the national level and comprise 94,850 AL (more than 6860 compared to 2019).
Bucking the trend in Lisbon and Porto, there were districts like Bragança with a 29.6% increase over the number of magazines in 2019, a net increase of 81 AL, followed by Guarda (up 22, 3% or 75 AL) and Portalegre (19.6% or 64 AL).
“Although these are small absolute numbers, which is normal in a year of deep crisis, Bragança remains at the level of Porto and Aveiro and overcomes Lisbon,” says Eduardo Miranda, adding that “Bragança, Guarda and Portalegre are the only ones Districts were where the absolute was the growth in the number of registrations was higher in 2020 compared to 2019. “
This is one of the effects of the pandemic, as PUBLIC Eduardo Miranda mentioned, with greater demand from tourists for housing in more remote areas and places where there was a lack of supply. We note that this official is expecting a new trend that will be “gradual and sustainable”.
The same analysis is carried out for the migration of tourist units to the housing market in Lisbon and also in Porto, with the President of ALEP arguing that, although the process of change is natural and tends to increase in times of crisis, AL “is not the salvation for rental”. Mainly because a large part of the offering is made up of T0 and T1 small size which are not very compatible with family options.
Then, he argues, a massive transition would “kill” tourism and affect sectors like restaurants and commerce. Most of the AL, he recalls, is still outside the official statistics (INE only counts units with more than ten beds), but this is a segment that accounts for “almost 40% of the nights”. For this reason it will be “of fundamental importance in the initial phase of recovery, which will also be gradual in the summer period”.
The sector is asking for more support
Here, and with billing losses of more than 70% (rising to over 80% in urban centers), ALEP defends the creation of alternatives to support micro and sole proprietorships, adding that “strengthening the Turismo de Portugal support line is key for the survival of the sector ”.
This line, which was introduced in March last year and is already available in the third version with an endowment of 100 million euros (10 million of which for small businesses), is aimed at small tourism companies. According to the Turismo de Portugal, 9725 applications were approved, which corresponds to 84.4 million euros. Of this amount, 73 million have already been paid, of which 16.8 million are intended for accommodation offers.
Another effect of the pandemic, according to the ALEP, was to show that there is “a renewed appetite for medium-term stays” in LA, in a “mix of tourism and housing,” among professionals “in the process of the temporary change “. . In such cases, the bill will be billed monthly and not daily.