The impact of the Covid19 pandemic on the Local Lodging Accommodation (“AL”) market is devastating. In May, average occupancy rates reached only 5% in Lisbon and 3% in Porto, worsening the already low levels observed in April when Lisbon registered an average occupancy rate of 10% and Porto 11%. Despite the dramatic drop in demand, average monthly rates remained at usual levels, reaching €93 in Lisbon and €70 in Porto.
The Government wants to end the granting of Golden Visas for third-country nationals purchasing real estate in the greater metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Oporto. In the seven years since its inception, the plan has barely touched the interior districts of the country. Historically, the concession of Golden Visas has accounted for just 3% of applications to the programme.
Local Lodging is on the decline across the country with new registrations dropping by 43% when compared to the same period last year. According to data from the Local Lodging National Register, the sharpest drop occurred in Lisbon, which fell by 73%. Porto also saw the opening of new AL establishments down by almost 50%. ALEP, the Local Lodging Association of Portugal, attributes this accentuated contraction with the overall shift from a “niche activity” to a “mature enterprise”. Local Lodging represents 40% of the total overnight tourist stays in Portugal.
The number of new Local Accommodation (“AL”) registrations in the municipality of Oporto fell by 40% in the first quarter of 2019 as compared to the same period last year. The City does not manifest the need to implement “AL” containment measures as has happened in Lisbon, considering that tourism in Porto continues to grow and is in good health.
In Portugal, there are ±1.1 million second residences, according to National Statistics Institute data, comprising 80% of “AL” offerings. These dwellings have a low utilisation rate: less than 30 days a year. When engaged in Local Lodging, the average yield per owner is €11,000 euros. Lisbon and Porto tell a different story. In these two urban areas, “AL” is driven primarily by investment properties, not second residences, and foreign buyers.
The average cost of Local Lodging in Porto approached the values registered in Lisbon – approximately €100 euros per night – according to recent data calculated and released by Confidencial Imobiliário. In 2017, there was a 30% gap between the 2 cities. According to the index, the highest average daily rate was recorded in Lisbon in the Chiado-Bairro Alto district (€138).
Local Lodging “has not been a problem for the Algarve. It’s being very positive for the economy and urban regeneration,” according to Faro mayor, Rogério Bacalhau. The Algarve’s municipalities have no plans to create quotas or “containment zones” for Local Lodging, a possibility opened by recent legislative reforms. The Algarve concentrates the majority of “AL” accommodations in Portugal, far outweighing Lisbon and Porto combined.
A study carried out by the movement “Oporto is not for sale” reveals that, among the 6,198 Local Lodging registrations in Portugal’s second largest city, 51.3% are enrolled by companies. The leading company holds 70 properties while there are 84 “AL” enterprises exceeding the legal limit of 7 registrations.
Porto’s Municipal Tourist Tax only began to be applied in April 2018, but the results from the first three months of collection point to annual revenues 50% above initial estimates. By the end of the year, the municipality currently expects to raise over €9,000,000.