This article is the third in a series that you can read all about here.
Meet David. He’s a marketing superhero by day, who enjoys baking, hiking, and all things cultural. By night, he has a penchant for making tequila-fuelled poor life choices. Forever alone, David lives with his two feline terrorists, Ali (as in Ali cat) and Astrophe (as in catAstrophe) – a true crazy cat lady in the making.
With just over a year to go before I hit 30, I’ve decided it’s about time to take the final plunge into adulthood: becoming a property owner. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing my research, visiting the bank, contacting countless agents, and asking literally everyone I know for help – and I’ve come to a conclusion. Within my budget, I have two viable options:
Option A: Resign myself to the fact that I’m going to live in a shoebox that hasn’t even been built yet.
Option B: Broaden my search to include the South & Gozo.
But let’s be real for a second. I’m a Sliema boy, born and bred. There’s no way I’ll survive away from the Centre/Harbour area. Heaven forbid someone expects me to communicate effectively in Maltese.
My situation got me thinking – if I’m struggling this much, surely others are too? Let’s review the facts.
Fact #1: I come from a well-off family
That’s not say that we’re rich, or that I rely on my parents for money.
If anything, I take pride in the fact that I haven’t asked for help since I left home at 23. Having said that, I’m privileged in the sense that I have sources of help (within reason) with my deposit, notary fees, architect fees, admin fees… I just need to get used to the idea of having “I gave you the money for your property and you can’t spare an afternoon with your poor old mother?” lorded over me for the next 40 years.
Fact #2: I earn an above-average salary
OK, I don’t work in gaming, so I’m not exactly swimming in pools of Euro notes.
But I am fortunate to have a salary well above the average Maltese income, and I don’t exactly struggle to make ends meet at the end of the month. At least I wouldn’t if it weren’t for my damn addiction to Time to Eat and my habit of booking a holiday whenever things get tough.
Fact #3: There’s a whole fuckton of expenses no one tells you about before buying property
After a meeting with my bank, I realised that just because a property is selling at the cheap-as-chips rate of €180,000 (if you’re lucky), that doesn’t mean that’s the final amount you’re going to have to pay.
No one tells you this, but there’s certain other expenses you can expect:
- Home insurance
- Life insurance
- Stamp duty (on any amount greater than €150K)
- Notary fees
- Architect fees
- Architects reports
- An arm, leg and possibly a kidney
- The soul of your firstborn
OK, maybe I exaggerated some items on that list. Architect fees probably won’t be so bad.
Bearing the above in mind, my total budget is a maximum of €170,000 (I can possibly stretch that by another 15K if I live on nothing but noodles for the next 30 years). Again, not an unhealthy budget… five years ago.
I can’t help but think – if I’m this limited, then what on Earth are people on minimum wage doing?
Yes, the economy is booming. Yes, everyone is thriving (unless you’re a tree). But doesn’t this disparity between the cost of the most basic necessity – HOUSING – and the average income mean that the poverty line is just going to increase?
I mean I’m no economist by any stretch of the imagination – but if I’m struggling to find somewhere affordable & realistic with my budget, with my privileged background (renting isn’t even an option anymore – prices have increased over 300% since I first moved out), surely there’s a problem here that needs to be addressed?