Malta Property prices fall, but sales persist steadily in 2009

The Malta property market registered a steady flow of sales in the first six months of the year, despite a general slowdown marked by a 4.4% drop in the Central Bank’s property price index for the first three months.

Data provided by the Ministry of Finance shows that registered deeds of sale in between January and June of this year were roughly half those registered in the whole of 2008.

During the six-month period, a total of 5,620 property deeds were registered, 46% of the 12,190 deeds registered in 2009.

Promise-of-sale agreements during the same period this year totalled 3,956, 48% of the 8,188 agreements registered in 2008.

The same trend could be seen in the various property segments. In the first half of 2009, 1,520 apartments were sold, compared with 3,207 in 2008 (47%); terraced houses sold in 2009 were 938, compared to 1,878 in 2009 (49.9%); penthouses sold this year numbered 147 compared to 326 last year (45%); and maisonettes sold this year were 541 compared to 1,168 (48%).

Still, Malta property prices continued to fall throughout the year. According to the Central Bank, lower asking prices were observed in seven of the eight property categories surveyed by its Malta property price index which is based on advertised residential property prices in newspapers sampled each month.

Apartments in shell form and houses of character saw the steepest decline with prices plummeting by 20.4% and 16.2% respectively. And finished flats, the most popular property for sale in Malta saw prices fall 10.8% while townhouse dropped 11.8%, maisonettes in shell form were down 5% and maisonettes in finished form fell 4.4%.

Even properties advertised were down by 21.1% on a year earlier with the drop being distributed across all the categories of residential property surveyed.

Permits granted by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority were fewer during the survey period, providing further evidence of the slowdown in the property market.

The first quarter figures are broadly in line with the findings of a recent Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry survey for the same period, conducted among members. It found that Malta property prices were down by 15 to 20% from the first quarter of last year.

Matthew Vella of Malta Today

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