The number of approved planning permits for new residential properties was down by almost 20 per cent in the first three months of the year, new figures revealed on Monday.

Statistics released by the National Office of Statistics showed that planners issued 496 building permits for new dwellings during the first quarter of the year  - an 18.6 drop from the same period in 2022.

Those permits allow developers to build a total of 2,540 dwellings. That figure represents an even bigger decline – 20.7 per cent – compared to the first quarter of 2022.

Although the Q1 2023 figures represent a dramatic decline from the highs registered one year earlier, they must be seen in context: Q1 of 2022 was an exceptionally busy period for the construction sector after a two-year COVID-induced lull. The Q1 2023 figures released on Monday by the NSO also show that planners approved more permits and new dwellings in the first three months of this year than in either Q2, Q3 or Q4 of last year.

Image: NSOImage: NSO

The highest number of approved new dwellings (178) was registered in St Paul’s Bay.  This was followed by Naxxar (121), Mellieħa (120), Balzan (111) and both Birkirkara and Żebbuġ (100)

Developers’ appetite for new construction projects was most significantly down in Gozo, the NSO statistics indicate, with a 29 per cent drop in approved new dwellings registered for the Gozo and Comino region. Approved new dwellings were down 18.9 per cent in Malta.

Apartment blocks continue to dominate the residential market, with apartments making up 71.6 per cent of newly approved homes and penthouses adding a further 15.5 per cent.

The remaining share was split between maisonettes (8.8 per cent), terraced houses (2.9 per cent) and other forms of residential units (1.2 per cent).

Infographic: NSOInfographic: NSO

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