The Federation of Estate Agents have called for new measures to ensure that entry-level houses in the market are given to “Maltese first time buyers, pensioners and Maltese trying to raise a family” in a public letter.
Referring to New Zealand’s recent ban on foreigners buying into specific parts of a soaring housing market, Simon DeBono, the General Secretary of the Federation of Estate Agents said that the reasoning behind New Zealand’s ban was to control soaring prices and protect people looking to buy entry level homes – homes that have shot up in price in recent years – and that Malta itself used to have a similar condition in effect.
“There used to be a derogation in Malta whereby foreigners could not buy property below €150,000. The Federation feels that there should be a reflection on the disruption being caused by the sudden influx of a large number of foreigners in a short period of time and the adverse effects that it is causing on affordability for the native born Maltese. In reality, entry level property has sky rocketed from €90,000 to over €200,000 in a period of 5 years, and wages have not matched this kind of increase,” the said.
They also pointed out the difficulties in borrowing money from the bank with wages not matching the rise in home prices.
“To borrow €200,000 from a bank one must have an income of €50,000 per annum. A recent article quoted the Minister of Finance saying that just over 2,000 people declared an income superior to €50,000. This means that over 136,000 Maltese taxpayers cannot afford €200,000 apartments,” they continued. “To this add another 300,000 of the Maltese population to start realising how chronic the situation is.”
“When it comes to renting the situation is even more desperate.”
“Rents of €200 just five years ago have been replaced by rents of €900 today. Not only have minimum wage earners been thrown into poverty, but now even clerical workers on €1,500 can’t afford to live as singles, let alone raise a family,” the pointed out.
They placed the blame on organisations with vested interests influencing the housing market.
“The country’s boards that advise the Government have been infiltrated and taken over by the Malta Developers Association and other non-MDA compliant organisations have been ejected from these boards, by the MDA. So the Government now hears only the voice of the speculators who dominate MDA leadership – and look where it has got us,” they said.
Just a week after over 100 migrants were found living in cow sheds, they pointed out how profit had overcome humanity.
“Immense speculative short term profits for a small inner core and the devastation of the lifestyles of a vast swathe of Maltese workers and families, with a daily increasing number of Maltese living in sub-standard hovels and an increasing number in underground garages. The balance of reason has been lost.
Literally stealing from to poor to give to the rich.
The news that we have migrants living, packed like sardines in slave-like quarters, in a farm, does not come as a surprise to the FEA. We have been warning of this situation for a long time now,” they said.
Moreso, they said this situation was affecting the Maltese youth.
“Our youth are losing hope for what was once part of the Maltese dream: to own one’s house and start a family. We think the market for Maltese homes and should be set by Maltese buyers, not overseas buyers… to benefit Maltese who have their shoulder to the wheel of the Maltese economy, pay tax here, and have families here. We don’t think they should be outbid by wealthier people from overseas. New Zealand has taken emergency housing measures because housing has increased by 75%. But in Malta it has increased by 100%. So the measures have to be equally drastic,” they said.