Lisbon City Council debt at 15 years minimum

 In News

Lisbon City Council has reduced its debt to its lowest level in 15 years thanks to the boom in tourism and real estate.


CML (Câmara Municipal de Lisboa) shaved €472 million off its debt and upped revenues to €718 million. Receipts from property tax skyrocketed almost 50%.

Last year was a bumper one for Lisbon’s city authorities thanks to the boom in tourism and hotel and property development as well as a buoyant house market in the city.

The Council says it has achieved “the greatest investment turnover in the 21st century”, while reducing its debt to the lowest level since 2002 and captured receipts overtaking its debt.

The city hall’s finance officer João Paulo Saraiva presented its accounts on Monday, 16 April stating that investment totalled €156 million, an increase of 18% on 2016 and 110% on 2011.

Urban Rehabilitation stands out from among the projects undertaken last year. In 2017 projects worth €11.6 million while €28 million of other projects in urban rehabilitation are currently underway.

The Council also netted €718 million in receipts, of which €543 million (75%) came from municipal taxes. The balance of taxes on receipts is increasing (72% in 2016), but the council officer insists that “fiscal policy has not been changed one iota” and that the windfall was “down to the city’s dynamic economy.”

The Property Transaction Tax (IMT) most contributed to improved receipts with record property purchases and sales in the real estate sector netting the Council €245 million in taxes, +47.9% on 2016.    

The boom in tourism also helped with the tourist tax on hotel stays bringing in €18.5 million in 2017, +€6 million on 2016.

In all, CML was able to shave €472 million off its total debt in 2017 bringing its debt to below €500 million since 2002. The amount represents a reduction of 15.7% in relation to 2016 and 58.2% in relation to 2007.