The average rent increased by almost 7% last year, according to the Housing Authority, with half of new tenants signing up to rental agreements of more than €800 a month. 

Economist and consultant for the Housing Authority, Brian Micallef, provided the data to journalists during a technical briefing on Monday.

He said that on average rents increased by 6.6% in the second half of 2022, compared to the same period in the previous year.

That increase would be around 9% if renewals were excluded, as the vast majority of contracts were renewed at the same rent. 

How much are people paying?

The data gives an insight into how much people are paying for rent. 

Half of all those who signed new contracts between July - December last year paid more than €800 a month. 

How much are people paying for rent?How much are people paying for rent?

The most common rental bracket was the €700 - €899 range, which comprised 27% of new contracts.

Almost one in three exceeded €1,000 but just three per cent exceeded €2,000, with most of these high rent agreements signed for properties in Sliema, St Julians and Swieqi.  

 Since 2020, a contract has to be registered with the Housing Authority within 10 days from the start of the lease. 

The number of people signing rental contracts has increased by almost a quarter in a year, with nearly 48,000 agreements signed in 2022. 

Micallef said that 95 per cent of the contracts were for long-term leases, and of the almost 22,000 contracts renewed last year, the vast majority were renewed with the same rent. 

According to the data, tenancy duration has gradually increased since the establishment of the register three years ago. Micallef said this is a result of renewals and multi-year contracts. 

He said only around a third of active contracts at the end of 2022 had a duration of one year, and slightly less than 10 per cent have a duration exceeding three years. 

Where do tenants live?

For the third year in a row, St Paul’s Bay remains the most popular locality to rent, accounting for 15 per cent of all active contracts.

According to census data, the town has doubled in size over the past decade to become Malta’s most populated town with just over 32,000 inhabitants. 

St Paul's Bay, Sliema and Msida are the localities which had more than 1,000 active contracts registered in 2022. Photo: Housing AuthoritySt Paul's Bay, Sliema and Msida are the localities which had more than 1,000 active contracts registered in 2022. Photo: Housing Authority

“More than 7,000 registered contracts are registered in St Paul’s Bay,” Micallef said.

This is followed by Sliema, with 4,000 contracts and Msida, with just over 3,000. 

The vast majority of tenants live in Malta with just seven per cent of active contracts in Gozo.

Affordable housing is not viable

The CEO of the newly established Foundation for Affordable Accommodation, Jake Azzopardi, said that affordable housing today is not viable. 

"The foundation has to operate in a commercial environment so that we can create a new way to provide affordable housing that can be self-sufficient," Azzopardi said. 

The foundation is a partnership between the government and the church. 

He said the foundation aims to provide housing to those who are not welfare-dependent enough to apply for social housing, but at the same time, are not financially stable to rent or purchase a property.

He did not go into further detail about how many people fall within this bracket.

He said one of the solutions to the rental market is to focus on vacant housing- yet did not go into further detail on how the foundation will provide more affordable housing. 

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