The high indebtedness of private households in Portugal is the result of a strange peculiarity of the Portuguese, writes Henrique Raposos in his blog A Tempo e a Desmodo with the weekly Expresso: "Everyone has to own their own flat. People no longer rent - like in other Western countries. This has naturally increased the total debts in Portugal. But now comes the good news: the number of rented apartments is growing - in 2009 the number of rented flats on offer in Lisbon went up by 40 percent. Because there are no more quick and cheap loans people are finally beginning to see the advantages of renting. And it really does help the economy. Why? Because it doesn't create excessive debt but rather encourages thriftiness. And above all it creates social mobility. Today people can't take a job in X because they're tied to 'their' home in Y. Moreover only the rented accommodation market can mitigate the most shameful phenomenon in our cities: the masses of empty, dilapidated buildings. They disfigure our cities and reduce the quality of life."