Government housing measures “sufficient to meet needs”

 In Construction, Housing, News

A Portuguese construction association boss says the country needs 45,000 new build houses to solve Portugal’s chronic affordable housing shortage.

The President of the Association of Civil Construction and Public Works Industries (AICCOPN) Manuel Reis Campos, said last week in an interview with newspaper Diário de Notícas that the measures suggested by the new centre-right coalition government led by Luís Montenegro are “sufficient to meet the needs identified”.

And he said that when put in practice these will be a “strong boost to housing construction” and a “rapid solution”.

Manuel Reis Campos said that Portugal needed to introduce effective measures capable of reversing the current situation in the housing market and that meant “building and refurbishing more”.

The new government’s solution for increasing levels of housing stock is to create Public-Private Partnerships, starting with plans to construct and refurbish buildings, including for student housing, on an ample scale.

The programme also provides for a public bank financing guarantee to cover the cost of the whole price of acquiring the first housing properties with an exemption on IMT property tax and stamp duty.

The new government’s housing policy includes measures such as increasing the supply of public, private and cooperative housing through public-private partnerships by making it easier for parcels of land to be used for new construction, particularly on land on the city limits of urban areas such as Lisbon.

In terms of tax, an exceptional and temporary 6% VAT regime on new build will facilitate the development of affordable housing.

In Lisbon, for example, the city council plans to create PPPs to build 9,000 homes on public land, 2,000 of which will be made available to the market through refurbishment projects.

Lisbon City Council also plans to provide 4,000 homes at affordable prices through housing partnerships offering a 90-year rental model on land that already has planning permission.

Another measure linked to the Portuguese property market is the new government’s rethink on holiday flat rentals for tourists, known in Portugal as Local Accommodation.

Now, almost all of the restrictions introduced by the previous government under its New Housing programme will be axed.

Negócios reports that the government has announced the end of the ban on buying new licences to operate tourist accommodation, the end of the ‘special contribution’ tax or CEAL payable by holiday let owners in some regions, and an end to the transmission of licences regulation which had meant that when an owner sold or transferred a property, the licence was automatically revoked. This will no longer be the case.