The total number of finalised property deeds of sale in the first half of 2022 slightly declined compared to the first half of 2021, although the average transaction price has increased since 2019, according to the latest figures published by the National Statistics Office analysed by The Shift.
NSO statistics show that property deals declined from a total of 8,262 to 8,078 compared to the same period in 2021. And while prices are increasing, so are complaints from the public having to face the impact of development on their daily lives, whether it’s machinery and equipment, traffic or the loss of a limited rural environment.
While there was a decline in the volume of finalised deeds of sale, the estimated total value in the first half of 2022 amounted to €15.1 million more than the value of the deeds signed in the first six months of 2021.
While 2020, the year of the COVID pandemic, led to a dramatic slowdown in activity, it was turned around the following year.
Average transaction prices per six-month period were also extracted from the monthly residential property transaction figures published by the National Statistics Office (NSO).
Since 2019, the average transaction price has increased. While the average transaction price in 2019 was just below €160,000, the average transaction price in 2022 has reached €224,239, a 40.5% increase.
While the figures on property transactions are estimates compiled by the NSO, Eurostat data helps illustrate the overall growth of the sector – construction in Malta has grown faster than any other EU member state since 2000, increasing by 330%. In less than a decade, from 2012 to 2021, the Planning Authority approved a staggering 69,954 development permits.
Malta’s dependency on the construction sector for economic growth is a well-documented problem, to the point where even Finance Minister Clyde Caruana acknowledged that the country has depended on the sector for growth for far too long and that it needs to change.
The effects of the country’s economy relying on the construction industry have become more pronounced over the last decade, both in terms of the associated environmental and human costs.
According to a hydrologist consulted by The Shift, the amount of built-up land in Malta stood at around 40% in 2021, increasing steadily year on year.
The encroachment of urban development on Malta’s rural countryside is also evident in agricultural land being slowly converted into urban development, often through circumvention or outright breaches of planning laws that face little opposition in terms of enforcement.
While environmental watchdog organisations have stepped up efforts to combat the rampant overdevelopment of the Maltese Islands, the number of developments resisted is often dwarfed by the number of developments approved.