The government has reviewed the criteria for properties being considered “vacant”, which may imply an increase in IMI (Municipal Property Tax) by three to six-fold. The increase will occur when an abode is located in a “pressure zone” and has remained empty for more than two years. Lack of consumption of utilities such as water and electricity will be the prime indicators. Exempt from the concept of “vacant” are dwellings integrated in tourist developments or registered as Local Lodging as well as second homes not located in the same municipality where the owner is resident.
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.
Currently, more than 2.3 million Portuguese live abroad or 22% of the population. After Malta, Portugal is the European country with most emigrants. In 2015, the latest year of available statistics, the main destination was the United Kingdom with 32,301 Portuguese entries, followed by France with 18,480, and Switzerland with 12,325. Moves to Germany numbered 9195 and Angola 6715.