Has renting in Malta become too expensive?


In recent weeks reports were published around the world regarding the astonishing increase in property prices in Malta. The country has even topped the world rankings, even managing to beat places like Hong Kong.

Of course, rising property prices means rising rental prices too.

Malta was once seen as the perfect island to retire for many British expats. Low cast of living, pretty much no crime and last, but not least, cheap housing. Things have, however changed dramatically in the last couple of years.

Checking the latest properties for rent in Malta will be a bit of a shock for people unfamiliar with the property market on the island. There are now many big European cities, even capitals, where rent is cheaper.

According to PropertyMarket.com.mt, only 5% of all rental properties currently on the market cost less than 700 Euro a month. Considering many people in Malta work for around 1000 Euro, the big picture becomes quite scary. And from these 5% most properties are either on the sister island of Gozo or located in the North part of the island – St Paul’s Bay, Qawra and Bugibba.

If you are looking for a flat around St Julians, Sliema or Gzira, you should be prepared to pay at least 1500 Euros per month.

Why have rental prices in Malta increased so much? There are a number of factors really. The economy has been doing great for a number of years and the island has attracted a lot of foreigners mostly working in the hospitality, construction, gaming and now blockchain sectors. Most of them do share a property and can afford to rent a flat even at these high prices.

The Maltese families however are facing a real problem. It’s absolutely unreasonable that a family of 4, with 2 working parents is expected to pay over 1000 Euros per month only on rent. It will be a real tragedy if hardworking people are being forced on the street and priced out of the market.

There is also a conversation taking place regarding the huge number of empty properties in Malta. There are literally thousands of properties which have been bought by foreigners or locals as an investment, but they aren’t being introduced on the rental market. Most new developments are sold out before even the building is completed. And of course, you can’t blame savvy investors for buying properties in Malta given the current speed at which prices are rising, but more and more people are voicing an opinion that the Government needs to do something to avoid a crisis.

The good new is that in the 2019 Budget the government has introduced a number of measures to help locals and people over 40 who are yet to purchase a home. Also, the scheme helping young people under 25 to buy their first property has been extended for another year too.

Landlords who agree to rent their properties for a long term (10 years) and at a reasonable price, will also receive compensation from the Government.

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