Malta real estate market overview
Some experts say that Maltese property can be referred to as a solid investment, and its types give the best ROI. It’s economy is one of the Europe’s fastest growing. It faced rather quick economic growth in 2014 and 2015. It showed as almost about 8% of annual growth till 2016. However, this growth slowed a little bit (to 5%) in 2016.
This is true according the figures from the Central Bank of Malta (CBM) which is now promoting price stability in euro area while actively participating in the preparation and decision-making process of the Eurosystem’s monetary policy.
Malta’s economic state
Malta’s recent economic growth surpassed experts’ projection of 4% as its economy had expanded by 3.2% (GDP growth rate) on an annual basis from 2005-2008, then contracted in 2009 by 2.4% and bounced back in 2010, when the GDP growth rate was 3.5%, then in 2011 – it was 1.8%, in 2012 – it was 2.8%, in 2013 – it was 4.5%, and in 2014 – it was 2% as the country’s fiscal deficit narrowed to around 1.4% of GDP in 2015.
The data which can be found about Maltese property market shows that real estate prices surged almost by 14% during the last quarter of 2016. Property prices rose by 7.24% during the fourth quarter of the last year (2016).
Malta labor market
Country’s labor market also reflects its economic state as well as its government’s efforts to boost national economy by raising labor market participation. Country’s employment rate in 2016 rose to 66.1% from 63.9% as it was last year. Unemployment rate was very low, about 4.1%. Annual inflation rate in February 2017 was merely low 1.2%.
Real estate market prices by property types
In such a way house price rises were experienced by all property types. For example, apartments had a double increase in price during the last quarter of 2016. They were up by 14.99%. Terrace houses experienced price surge of 13.33% the same year. Townhouses, villas and houses of character had not so large price growth of around 1.96% in 2016.
However, the highest price growth was experienced by marionettes which pieces rose by almost 21% over the same year. This was stated by the Individual Investor Program introduced by the government in the frames of its November 2013 budget.
Observations of Malta’s real estate market
According to words of RE/MAX Malta’s managing director Kevin Buttigieg, country’s real estate market is quite buoyant, despite the high prices there are all sorts of purchases being made on a daily basis: commercial investments, direct foreign investments, property investments during allocation of residency permits in the framework of IIP Citizenship Scheme etc.
However, there are still many restrictions on real estate ownership in Malta as EU citizens and foreign nationals can usually buy only one property in the country (several in specially designated areas like Chambray, Cottoenra, Manoel Island, Portomaso and Tigne Point).
Maltese real estate market’s past experiences
There was a strong growth in 2000-2007 witnessed by the experts as well as by non-professionals in the Maltese property market. The overall house price index rose by 78.9% while there was also a price increase observed of terraced houses – 105.3%, maisonettes – 81.4%, apartments – 83.3%, townhouses and villas – 71.9%.
House prices continued to rise from 2005 till 2007. In 2008 the country was under the influence of global financial crisis of 2008 as it is dependent on tourism and foreign trade. A 2.13% contraction was experienced in 2009 by the country. After the recovery of 2011, real estate prices fell by 2.2% in 2012. This period was followed by Maltese government launching new property-related measures. The prices continued to grow also in the 2014-2016.
Factors influencing property price growth
This program targets high net worth individuals. There were several reasons for housing demand such as growth in disposable income, increased number of foreign workers in Malta and low interest rate, leading to higher lending for house purchases.
Malta’s 2017 property bubble
However, country’s 2017 budget has rather favorable opportunities to potential property buyers by providing a subsidy of 100,000 euros on expenses related to of immovable property restoration which is located within an Urban Conservation Area. A tax rate of 7% was also imposed on the value of all inherited property transfers by means of a judicial sale by auction.
The lending rate on new mortgages was at 2.77% in January 2017 (before joining the Euro in January 2008, country’s mortgage borrowing rates were from 4-5% and above), housing lending rates surged to 3%. March 2016 Global Property Guide research showed that country’s rental yields are moderate. They range from 4.35% to 4.49%. In accordance with Malta’s National Statistics Office (NSO) the prices were rising from 2012 till 2015 as there were an increasing number of foreign workers in the country, choosing to live in rented places of accommodation.
According to the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) the rise in dwelling permits was also seen as they rose up to 67.7%, apartment permits accounted for 35.9%, maisonettes rose by 13.8% and other property types – 17.4%.