Several thousands of Maltese tenants stand to get evicted from their homes next year as their rent will increase beyond their budgets, according to the Federation of Real Estate Agents.
The Federation estimates that around 130,000 Maltese people (28% of the population) are currently living in rental accommodation after being priced out of the property market.
However, the Federation warned many of these stand to see their rents shoot up beyond their budgets in the coming months as a result of the construction of apartments not keeping up with the continued influx of foreign workers.
“The Government is insisting on allowing over 60,000 foreign workers into Malta, within the next 12 months, without providing 60,000 apartments for them to live in,” it said, ostensibly referring to figures cited by the Malta Employers’ Association.
“Even if we had to build ten times more than the 6,000 yearly new apartments that are currently being built, it will take two years to supply this new demand. We are currently at a crisis situation where there is not enough rental housing stock to house the existing foreign workers, let alone the new ones yet to come in. There is a bidding war going on quietly on existing rental housing stock and the foreigners are outbidding the Maltese every time.”
The FEA’s intervention reflects an oft-hidden side of Malta’s rapid economic growth. With Maltese unemployment practically nonexistent, businesses looking to open up in Malta or expand their operations here are often left with no alternative but to hire foreign workers.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat referred to this problem at a recent mass meeting, when he urged Maltese society to open its doors to everyone who wants to live and work here.
Rival association distances itself from FEA’s comments
Meanwhile, the Estate Agent Section (EAS), which forms part of the Malta Developers Association and represents the majority of leading estate agencies in Malta disassociated itself with comments being made by FEA’s spokesman Simon Debono with regard to the property market and estate agencies in general.
“Mr Debono’s comments represent his own personal opinion and in no way reflect the opinion of the majority of the leading estate agencies in Malta. The absolute majority of members of the former Federation of Estate Agents now form part of the Estate Agents Section (EAS) within the MDA. Mr Debono is simply a force of one. His claims that he represents the estate agents in Malta through any form including as part of the former Federation of Estate Agents are completely false.”