Housing units now double what there were in 1985
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Housing units now double what there were in 1985

Over 26,000 units added since 2011 census

The number of housing units went up by 26,000 between 2011 and 2018, according to an analysis by the Central Bank of Malta which tried to assess the present housing stock.

At 250,000, the stock is double the amount reported in 1985, although the growth rate is still not as high as that seen before the crisis period of 2008/2009.

However, there may be another story hidden within the figures: the 2011 census had found 71,080 vacant properties, of which 41,232 were not being used either seasonally or as second homes.

“Little is known on the status on these units today, yet a booming property market with rising rents and a number of incentives introduced by the government to rehabilitate buildings in urban core areas have introduced strong incentives on owners to put such properties on the market,” the report said.

The analysis was put together by the bank’s principal research economist William Gatt, who stressed that he had to make a number of assumptions which imposed a degree of uncertainty on the findings.

Starting from the 2011 census, when 223,850 units were logged, he used Planning Authority data to estimate the number of units added to the stock, taking into account not only new builds, but also conversions and re-development.

He noted that demand had grown considerably but that there was usually a time lag before the sector reaction. Since 2013, there was a strong pick-up in permit approvals, with construction itself tending take an average of one year, which added to the delay in the provision of properties.

“The growth in the housing stock accelerated only after 2015,” the report says.

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