Property slowdown persists

A finished apartment advertised to sell at €80,000 in March 2008 would have had almost €9,000 cut from the asking price a year later, according to the Central Bank of Malta's property index.

The asking price for finished flats, the most common type on the market, was down by 10.8 per cent in the first three months of the year when compared to the same period a year before.
The figures published in the bank's quarterly review yesterday showed that the year-long slowdown in the property market accelerated in these three months of this year. Property prices in the first quarter dropped by 9.9 per cent when compared to the same period a year before.
The sharp decline was more than double the drop registered in the previous quarter when prices fell by 4.4 per cent.

The bank said lower asking prices were observed in seven of the eight property categories surveyed. Apartments in shell form and houses of character saw prices plummet by 20.4 per cent and 16.2 per cent respectively.
The price for townhouses also dropped by 11.8 per cent while finished and shell form maisonettes saw prices slip by 4.4 per cent and five per cent respectively.
Terraced houses were the only property type to buck the trend, with the asking price rising by 4.1 per cent.

The slowdown was not only visible in terms of price but was also confirmed by a 21 percent drop in the number of advertised properties and fewer permits granted for residential properties by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority.
Property prices last year declined by 2.7 per cent when compared to 2007, with the asking price for flats in shell form and in finished form, which together make up over half of the sample, going down by two per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively.

The first quarter figures are broadly in line with the findings of a Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry survey for the same period, conducted among members, which had found property prices were down by 15 to 20 per cent from the first quarter of last year.

Above article printed front page Times of Malta Sat, August 15, 2009 (Kurt Sansone)

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