Housing in Lisbon, Portugal




cheap mansion a third (1/3)
abroad full-time consultant
sector promote destination
GDP increase consequences
rent residency take up (2)
citizen boom (2) meet/met/met
loan obviously old/older/oldest
bill (2) struggle big/bigger/biggest
attain prospect leave/left/left
ahead exchange pay/paid/paid
pantry struggle frustration
plight recovery trace back to
trace provide cornerstone
crisis income short-term
launch permit (2) Schengen Area
access area (3) look ahead
worth purchase real estate
region raise (2) investment
switch promote exemption
tax part-time account for
argue purchase contextualize
expert immense collateral damage
rent area (3) social fabric
price definitely interpersonal
fabric move (2) measure (2)
urban stuff (3) referendum
defend guarantee find/found/found
hope prospect wake up (2)
own sensation pay/paid/paid
weird average permission
wage minimum rise/rose/rise
mass suburbs minimum wage
exodus commute public transport
strain situation widespread
push condition dependent
search end up generation
stay sense (2) studio flat
pride consider sense of pride
reward determine at the same time
severe give up (2) good/better/best
nomad credit (3) sacrifice (2)
realize right (4) alternative
amend occasion constitution
touch pressure take to the street
ensure en mass drive/drove/driven
affect challenge relationship
fill dream (2) spend/spent/spent
soar (2) branch (3) high/higher/highest






Journalist: “What is something that you want people to know about Portugal?”

Diana Tavares, Local Resident: “Well, people think it’s a cheap country. Not for the Portuguese.”

Beatriz Magrito, Local Resident: “The future of Portugal is not the foreigners who move here, the digital nomads who come here and move into mansions because they make a lot of money abroad. The future of Portugal is young people.”

Diana Tavares, Local Resident: “My name is Diana Tavares. I am 31 years old. I live in Almada and I work in Lisbon.”

Beatriz Magrito, Local Resident: “My name is Beatriz Magrito and I’m twenty-four years old. I’m a digital marketing consultant for the company Paginas Amarelas.”

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Welcome to Portugal, where the warmth of the weather is only matched by that of its people.

Over the last ten years, tourists from all over the world have woken up to its beauty, quickly turning the country into one of the most popular travelling destinations in the EU.

In 2022, the tourism sector accounted for over 15% of the country’s GDP.

But not without consequences. By then, a third of Lisbon’s historical centre was taken up by Airbnbs and short-term rentals. So as tourism was booming, house prices were soaring.

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Diana Tavares: “I got out of college at 20, 21, 22 with this idea. Okay, I’m going to work. I’m going to get what I need to get my first house loan, my first house, you know, meet someone, get married, and then I’ll go to a bigger house.

That did not happen. I live with my older brother. He’s 39.”

Beatriz Magrito: “Obviously leaving my parents’ house wasn’t easy — it took many years of sacrifices. I left very young, at a time when what I wanted was to enjoy life. But I had bills to pay.

I think it’s unthinkable to live in a room and feel like I’m struggling financially. In a room.

What is the prospect for young people in Portugal to have any kind of future? I just can’t look ahead and think, ‘I’m going to buy a house, and stuff like that.’

I can’t see it happening, because every day that goes by, makes that dream more and more unattainable.”

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The plight can be traced back to the 2008 financial crisis, when Portugal put tourism and foreign investment at the cornerstone of its economic recovery.

Soon after, the country launched what’s known as the Golden Visa Program, providing non-EU citizens with residency permits and access to the Schengen Area in exchange for real estate purchases worth €500,000 or more.

From 2012 to 2022, the program raised over €6 billion, 90% of which was through real estate investment. The government also promoted a ten-year income tax exemption for foreigners living part-time in the country.

These measures were credited for Portugal’s economic recovery.

But experts argue the market is now completely turned to foreign purchasing power. Both sales and rent prices today are entirely decontextualised from Portuguese income, causing immense collateral damage to the social fabric of its largest urban areas, especially Lisbon, Porto, and the southern Algarve region.

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Beatriz Magrito: “I haven’t lived here for two years and my rent has already increased twice. I think it’s going to go up more. I’d tell you I have to find an alternative . . . but there isn’t one.

I don’t even feel it’s worth talking about moving in with my boyfriend just yet, there’s no hope or prospect of us living together — it’s just not possible.”

Diana Tavares: “The housing crisis got to numbers so high that everyone is struggling, no matter what type of contract they have.

I live in my family house, owned and paid for by my parents; it’s the house where I grew up since I was four.

It’s a very weird sensation of you’re no longer a teenager, but you’re not a full-time adult. You pay the taxes like an adult, but you still have to ask permission from your father about who can come inside your house to visit you.”

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Since 2010, housing prices in Portugal rose by over 60%, well above the EU average of 45%. A one-bedroom apartment in Lisbon now goes for over €850, just about the same as the country’s minimum wage of €880.

This caused a mass exodus of Lisboetas towards the suburbs, putting a strain on the old public transport system, so the daily commute to the city could take up to 4 hours. Yet the prices have risen there, too.

Diana Tavares: “So when I got out, it was around 6:10 am. Let’s see . . . 6:10 to 7:30. That was my commute time.”

Diana’s situation is a widespread one. On average, Portuguese people leave their parents’ home at the age of 34.

If not dependent on their elders, the unliveable conditions are pushing Portugal’s youngest generation outside of the country. Every year, almost 40% of the nation’s graduates leave in search of better living conditions.”

Beatriz Magrito: “I’ll end up leaving my country, because there aren’t any conditions to stay. I feel like I’m part of the middle class. And I don’t have a house. I can’t even rent a studio flat. It’s unthinkable.”

Diana Tavares: “I do feel a sense of pride in my country when I have to show it to other people.

But at the same time, I realise that we have to change a little bit in our more negative aspects if we want this country to get better.

I feel the frustration of maybe I will never see the day when we do, and I might have to leave before that happens.”

Beatriz Magrito: “It upsets me because I want to keep living — I mean, I’d like to stay here, I have my family and friends here . . . but maybe, I’ll have to give all that up, because there is no future here in Portugal.”

Diana Tavares: “Well, if the situation does not improve economically for me, if there an opportunity for me, I will go. Because sometimes I feel that I gave a second chance to Portugal — and I did not get rewarded for that.”

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The crisis is so severe that housing organisations are promoting a referendum to defend the right to housing guaranteed by the Portuguese constitution. On two occasions, tens of thousands of people took to the streets across the country. So the government was pressured to amend the Golden Visa program in April 2012.

Besides that, and ensuring the start of a new social housing project, the government’s measures don’t touch the main driver of the crisis: foreign investment.

Diana Tavares: “The housing crisis is definitely the biggest challenge because it affects everything else. It really affects all the other branches of Portuguese society right now. It affects where you work. It affects what you spend. It affects how you live. It affects what time you have for interpersonal relationships. It affects mental health en masse. It affects your health because where you live determines what your hospital is.”

Beatriz Magrito: “The people who are considering coming here should know that when they are looking at a Portuguese person, they are looking at a fighter.

They are looking at someone who probably doesn’t know if they are going to be able to fill their pantry at the end of the month.

A person who doesn’t know if they’re going to be able to switch the heating on next winter because the electricity bills are getting higher and higher.”

Diana Tavares: “We really need to fix this first and as soon as possible in a way that Portuguese people can afford it. I don’t care if it’s a left-wing measure, if it’s a right-wing measure, just fix it.

I don’t care if it’s pro-market, anti-market, left, right, fix it. Just fix it.

I don’t care which investors are going to be deterred from putting their money into the country. I don’t care who we need to upset. The Portuguese need housing.”

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Baby, Infant. Everyone in Portugal enjoys a great life of good weather, the ocean, art, history, culture, food and wine. Is this entirely true, largely true, in the middle, so-so, yes and no, mostly false, completely false, or it depends?

Child, Kid. Is Portugal a remote, isolated and little known part of the world?

Preschool, Nursery School. What was Diana Tavares’ expectation of life? Has she achieved her goals? Does Diana currently live a “normal” life?

Elementary School. Is Beatriz Magrito optimistic or pessimistic about the future? Does she have any problems, difficulties and challenges? What are her main challenges, difficulties and problems?

Intermediate School. Has the Portuguese economy, policies and society changed over the years? If yes, how as Portugal changed?

Teenager, Adolescent. What has been the key issue in Lisbon? How have Lisbon residents such as Diana adjusted? What adjustments have Diana and others made?

High School, High School Diploma. According to Diana, the high cost of housing is just a minor inconvenience. Is this right or wrong?

Adult. How have many Portuguese responded to the economic, political, and social situation in their country? Will Diana definitely be voting for socialist parties?
Community College. Describe the housing situation in your town, city and country. Is housing affordable for everyone or most people? Is housing cheap, medium-priced, expensive or very expensive?

Vocational-Technical School. Is housing a big problem or concern? Do many people talk about? Is it a major topic among politicians, journalists, academics and experts?

University, Bachelor’s Degree. Have things changed over the years? What was it like in the past? Has the situation changed from your parents’ or grandparents’ time?

Work, Job, Career, Profession. Why is it so expensive in many parts of the world? Is there a “conspiracy” at work?

Middle Aged. What might happen in the future?

Senior Citizen, Retired. What could or should Diana Tavares and Beatriz Magrito do? What could or should governments, people, digital nomads and businesses do?

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