The PAN in the Lisbon Municipal Assembly today proposed the temporary suspension of the sale of real estate to non-residents in Portugal, which the PSD considered “illegal” and the Liberal Initiative (IL) warned that “there is no xenophobia of the good”.
The proposal is contained in a motion in which the PAN argues that “housing is a fundamental social right”, presenting a set of 13 measures, one of which is the “temporary suspension of the sale of real estate to natural or legal persons not resident in Portugal, with the exception of immigrants with a residence permit”.
“Today we are presenting a motion that reminds us that the right to housing is a fundamental right and that in Portugal today this is not happening,” said António Morgado Valente, the only member of the PAN (People-Animals-Nature) party in the Lisbon Municipal Assembly (AML).
In the motion, PAN states that “the increase in tourism, gentrification, the low wages practiced in Portugal, real estate speculation and, more recently, the increase in the Euribor rate have all contributed to an escalation in property prices, making housing unaffordable for many people”.
Regarding the temporary suspension of the sale of real estate to non-residents in Portugal, IL MP Angélique Da Teresa considered that this proposal “is completely inadmissible” and warned that “there is no xenophobia of the good”.
“Let’s stop with the ideological prejudices of one against the other and let’s increase the supply [of housing],” she said.
From the PSD benches, Carlos Reis questioned the assembly about the admissibility of this proposal, saying that it “is illegal” and suggesting that the PAN withdraw it.
“As a political will, it must be accepted,” said CDS-PP MP Margarida Penedo.
In response to the warnings, the PAN MP said that “for an exceptional situation, exceptional measures”, pointing out that Canada has taken steps in this direction and considering that this could help solve the problem of real estate speculation.
Nonetheless, António Morgado Valente proposed that the motion be referred to the AML’s 5th Housing and Local Development and Municipal Works Committee, so that it could be reformulated before being put to the vote, which was approved by a majority, with Chega voting against and the rest voting in favor.
Among the measures proposed by the PAN are a reduction in the tax burden on rents in order to encourage the supply of housing, an increase in the amount available for young rents (Porta 65) and for social support for affordable or emergency rents, the creation of insurance to cover the payment of rents in situations of default and exemption from capital gains on the sale of permanent housing with proof of tax residency for a minimum period of five years.
At the proposal of the PCP, the assembly approved demanding that the government “take the necessary steps to respond to the housing shortage survey included in the municipality’s Local Housing Strategy, mobilizing the corresponding financial resources”.
As part of a motion “for effective measures to reduce the value of rents and payments to the bank, ensuring the right to housing”, this proposal was made possible with the votes against of Chega and PPM, the abstention of PSD and CDS-PP, and the votes in favor of BE, Livre, PEV, PCP, PS, PAN, IL, MPT, Aliança and two independent deputies elected by the PS/Livre coalition.
The remaining two points of the PCP’s motion were rejected, even with the PS and PSD voting against, namely the reduction in the value of home purchase installments, ensuring that the banks bear the increase in interest rates with their profits, along with the implementation of a moratorium that exempts the payment of the capital portion, and the reduction in the value of rents, with the setting of a limit on the increase in house rents.
Also voted down by the PS and PSD was a motion by the PEV calling on the government to consider making public transport free throughout the country for young people up to the age of 23, even if they are not studying; for students over the age of 23, regardless of the type of education; for unemployed people; and for people over the age of 65.