A positive outlook on the real estate market in Malta is not only perceived by the public. It has been confirmed by a recent study which Remax Malta commissioned through the Insight OmniBus Research initiative – a quantitative study carried out by means of a survey using a sample of 500 respondents. The respondents are also stratified according to the various areas of Malta and Gozo.
Research is an important tool to help realtors understand the market better. Being in sync with market trends and public opinion helps the real estate market to form and adapt strategies accordingly, thereby offering a more customised service to clients.
The Insight OmniBus Research study follows an international framework of surveys carried out in the US, which is used to gauge the real estate market.
The main objective of the study was to verify the broad opinion of the local real estate market today and what people feel the outlook will be in the future.
The survey also gauged public opinion in comparison with other types of investments vis-à-vis home ownership.
Furthermore, people were asked how they felt about the impact first-time buyer subsidies had on the change (in this case, an increase) in property sales in Malta, based on national statistics – supplied by the NSO – on property sales in 2014 when compared to 2015.
The respondents were first asked whether they agreed with the positive outlook on the real estate market, to which 63 per cent of respondents either totally agreed or agreed, whereas 25 per cent answered that they neither agreed or disagreed or did not know.
The next question was whether this was a good time to purchase property, to which 50.4 per cent answered it was or probably was a very good time to buy. Almost 26 per cent (25.8) of respondents answered it is not any different from other times, whereas 23.8 per cent felt it was not a good time to buy.
In an effort to measure public opinion, respondents were asked a number of questions related to the stability of the market. To the question asking if they feel the market is stable, the response was an encouraging 58.2 per cent yes, while 17.8 per cent said they did not know.
Respondents were then asked if they felt today’s market was stable compared to a year ago and if they felt property prices will increase in a year’s time. The results here were that 31.6 per cent are convinced the market is stronger, with 39 per cent saying that the situation remains unchanged.
The final question addressed property prices, to which 57 per cent of respondents answered they believe market prices will increase, while 25 per cent said that the market prices will remain the same.
Public opinion of home ownership is extremely high in Malta., with 91.8 per cent of respondents feeling that owning a home is a much better investment than investing in stocks and shares or holding bank deposits in savings or fixed deposit accounts.
Over 80 per cent of respondents confirmed they felt that the first-time buyer subsidy was very important and contributing to the increase in real estate sales in Malta and Gozo.
Property sales in Malta, in fact, increased by 23.99 per cent in 2015 when compared to 2014, translating into an increase of some 2,500 promises of sale registered in 2015 over those registered in 2014. The sales were attributable to local and foreign investors across the whole spectrum, with the numbers of foreign buyers increasing steadily.
One can therefore safely say that public opinion about investment in the property market is very encouraging. Keeping in mind that this is one very important factor contributing to the continued healthy progress of the sector, one could be tempted to sit back and continue enjoying the safe ride. Reality has shown that everything in life moves in cycles and we would be narrow-minded to think that the property market sector is totally immune to these lifecycles.
Malta enjoys a particular combination of dynamics which, contrary to the belief of sceptics, does remain unique.
These factors are a mix of non-controllable and controllable elements. As long as we don’t lose focus on what is controllable and keep this in check, we believe we will continue to maintain the momentum. Even if there were to be any easing in prices, solid local interest will continue to underpin the market prices to always keep this type of investment an attractive and safe bet.
Jeff Buttigieg is chief operating officer of Remax Malta.