Forty-nine per cent of participants in a PwC barometer on the real estate industry cited the access and availability of finance as their top-most concern.
Other concerns highlighted are potential adverse changes to the taxation regime on properties, the lack of supply of property in the market and negative press about Malta in foreign media.
In a similar market exercise carried out by PwC in October 2015, the top-most concern of the industry, at the time, was Mepa and the bureaucracy around it.
Availability of finance only ranked as the third top-most concern, preceded by over-supply in the market.
The barometer also pointed to a surge in the demand for property.
“The results of the barometer continue to reinforce the widespread notion that this industry continues to perform well and also contributes indirectly towards other sectors of the economy. PwC’s initiative in the form of market barometers is aimed at maintaining the firm’s insight in this industry,” said PwC’s Territory Senior Partner David Valenzia.
Twenty-six per cent of the respondents attribute the rise in demand for property to the increase in the number of foreign workers in Malta – a noteworthy indicator of the susceptibility of our economy to inbound business. Twenty per cent of local real estate operators believe that the increase in the investment in the buy-to-let market has fuelled the activity in the industry.
Other factors affecting the demand for property were determined to be the growth in disposable income, government initiatives in the sector, the increase in demand for office space and the Individual Investor Programme.
Thirty-five per cent of the operators who claim to have more than five per cent of the market identified the impact of foreign workers as the major factor positively affecting the industry. It appears that the 2018 Budget initiatives targeting the real estate business have been strongly welcomed by the industry. Ninety-five per cent of the participants stated that the extensions on the capping of stamp duty and refunds on properties acquired in designated areas had a positive impact on the industry.
St Julian’s and Sliema have experienced the largest price increases and property demand in the south of Malta appears to be registering a modest, but steady recovery.
Forty local real estate agents participated in the barometer through telephone interviews in the first weeks of 2018.