News: Malta's 'pathetic' Government slammed

Thu, 29 Nov 07

Malta is risking a serious property crash sue to oversupply in the market, because it is represented in parliament by a government and opposition who ignore the fundamental problem of over supply in the property market...

The Greens stated that neither government not opposition has the policies to deal with this problem and that they do not have the courage to admit the problem.  

 According to the statement by AD, ever since the Census 2005 was published, the media of the two large parties have ignored the shocking statistic of vacant property stock, a fact that shows the parties' unholy relationships with the construction industry lobbies. 

Chairperson Dr. Harry Vassallo stated that "as we have been saying for many years now, Malta is over supplied with residential property. Over one fourth of this country's property is lying vacant - for government this does not even seem to be an issue, since nothing was even mentioned in the budget.

Environmental destruction

The capricious environmental destruction and health hazard resulting from this is immense and will affect future generations. At this stage we believe that the country faces a serious risk of a property implosion, particularly if MEPA grants more permits to build complexes with thousands of apartments for which there is no effective demand". 

 During the conference, AD made a number of proposals. The decision to extend buildings outside development zones taken last year should be reversed. According to AD, with so many vacant properties, there is no need of extending development zones any further. The resources of the construction industry must be diverted towards restoration and maintenance of properties rather than new construction.  

AD also proposes that Government should impose basic standards of maintenance on these vacant properties. Nobody should be allowed to keep property in a derelict state to the detriment of residents who keep their properties well maintained. Property rights also come with responsibilities.  

AD stated that the government should consider their proposals to implement a system that actively encourages more of these properties to come onto the market for rent or sale, whilst discouraging property hoarding. We have specifically proposed a system that will exempt both primary residences and holiday residences. It will apply only from the third property upwards. 

‘Pathetic’ Government

With this system, according to AD, all those owning three or more properties would register these properties and declare their values. On an annual basis they would be subject to a charge amounting to just 15% of the rental value of the property, which the law already states should be 3%. This will amount to an annual charge of 0.45% of the capital value.  

Dr. Vassallo concluded saying that "it is pathetic then listening to government battling on how they are proposing to assist first time buyers, when there is clearly no shortage of supply. The most effective policy to assist first time buyers is to have a system that puts more properties onto the market; a measure that will allow property to be priced at a more affordable level.

The system that we are proposing will encourage more properties to come onto the market, both for sale and rental. In addition it will generate between 7 - 9 million liras per annum, a sum that government can use to assist all those in need, rather than measures just focused towards first time buyers".

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