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Internal migrations, population changes and consequences on real estate supply and demand

Internal migrations, population changes and consequences on real estate supply and demand

Internal migrations, population changes and consequences on real estate supply and demand


What is the impact resulting from internal movements?

Although the resident population of Portuguese origin has been decreasing as can be observed as a result of the negative natural balance (births-deaths) in the last 15 years and the balance of emigration, there has also been a continuous internal migration of people from the interior to the large urban centers although, Increasingly, medium-sized villages are able to settle their inhabitants, and there is even some small movement in the opposite direction, particularly after the pandemic.

In 2021, the INE census says, there were 728,000 people who, a year earlier, were in another county, while that figure in the 2011 census was 275,000. Of course, many of these changes are only for neighboring counties, but despite this shows a significant increase in mobility.

We can observe population reduction in all major areas, with the exception of Lisbon and Algarve, precisely where the urban pressure is highest.


There is a migration from the interior to the coast, with the districts that lost more population being, Portalegre (-10%), Beja (-6.8%), Castelo Branco, Guarda and Évora. In addition, the ageing of the population is worsening, since those who migrate are typically the youngest.

While those that had positive variations are Braga (+6.5%), Faro, Aveiro, Leiria, Setúbal and Viseu (+0.4%). With the exception of Viseu, which had a marginally positive variation, all the others are coastal (INE data from the 2021 Census compared to 2011).

It should be stressed that these values do not result only from Portuguese citizens, since these values refer to residents (who can be from different nationalities).

Lisbon Metropolitan Area – The Lisbon district gained about 49,000 inhabitants in 10 years (2011-2021), however this distribution was uneven, while in Lisbon (-1.4%) the population decreased, as in Amadora (-2%), Barreiro and Oeiras marginally, in other municipalities it increased, as in Mafra (+12.9%), Palmela (+9.6%), Alcochete (+9%) and Montijo (+8.8%), as well as Sesimbra, Seixal, Cascais and Sintra, with smaller increases. We have seen concentrations in neighboring municipalities where there has been some increase in housing supply still at affordable prices and reduction in other municipalities more "rich" or with less supply, with the exception of Cascais, probably due to concentration of emigrants with high purchasing power.

Porto – Although in the Oporto District the number of residents has fallen since 2001, in the city of Oporto the value of resident has increased, after a continuous fall, probably due to internal migrations to other areas of the country.

We can conclude that, even without an increase in population, the change between regions and municipalities increases demand in certain areas, while others will have excess housing stock.

The issue of population evolution between areas and municipalities of the country, is another necessary piece to understand the increase in demand (and supply, as a consequence of the increase in available real estate in some areas) of residential real estate.

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