To analyse housing accessibility, the Ministry of Economy used several indicators, including the accessibility index based on the Housing Affordability Index (HAI), which results in the relationship between the median household income and the monthly credit payment plan.

In general, this index reveals that housing affordability on the mainland “decreased significantly” between 2016 and 2021, which was due to the “acceleration of values relating to bank assessments from 2019 onwards, despite the reduction in interest rates and the growth of median household incomes”.

Even in this context, in 2021 there was a recovery in housing accessibility at a national level, explained by “the combination of the decline in the interest rate implicit in housing credit and the recovery of the upward trend in median income”. Even so, in that year, “it would be necessary for a household to have, on average, a monthly income of 2,063 euros to have an average home through the use of credit, which contrasts with the median monthly income of 1,091 euros for households nationals in the same year”.

Algarve and Lisbon

Access to housing is not equal in all regions of the country. It is in Greater Lisbon and the Algarve where it has become more difficult to buy a house using housing credit. According to a report by idealista. In fact, the Algarve region is where “the difficulty in accessibility to housing stands out most”, with the municipality of Vila do Bispo representing the most serious case. On the other hand, the North, Center and Alentejo regions recorded gains in terms of housing accessibility in 2021.

The same study also reveals that there are only 45 municipalities on the mainland in which, in 2021, the household with an average income had enough salary to cover the housing loan instalment. These are located, above all, in the interior of the country (Central Alentejo and Beiras and Serra da Estrela), apart from 4 municipalities in the Leiria Region and another 2 in the Coimbra Region.

The municipality of Freixo de Espada à Cinta, in the Douro region, was the most accessible of all in 2021. Here, a household with a median income has around 175.7% of the income necessary to qualify for a credit intended for the acquisition of a medium-sized house in the municipality itself.