Permits for new dwellings in Malta have increased by 230% since 2013

Permits for new dwellings issued by the Planning Authority are expected to reach the record levels of 2007 soon enough

The number of newly-approved dwellings has shot up from 2,707 in 2013 to 9,006 in 2017 – an increase of 232% – statistics published by the Planning Authority show.

The statistics also show that in 2016, the PA approved the highest number of ODZ (outside development zone) dwellings, 283,  since 2005. In 2016, 3.8% of all new dwellings approved were located outside development zones. This was the highest percentage of new dwellings built in the ODZ since 2009.

Although the number of approved ODZ dwellings declined to 136 in 2017, the number remains higher than that approved in any single year since 2010 except for 2016.

106,528 new dwellings have been approved since 2000, of which over 64% were approved in the past 10 years.

The number of new dwellings remains lower than that approved in the property boom between 2005 and 2007 when a record 30,833 dwellings were approved in three years. In contrast between 2015 and 2017 a total of 20,461 new dwellings were approved.

But 2016 saw one of the highest ever percentage increase in the number of dwellings approved, an increase of 90% over 2015 figures.

At 9,006 the number of new permits for dwellings is the highest since 2008 but remains substantially lower than that approved in 2007, when a record 11,343 dwellings were approved.

Statistics show that permits for new dwellings shot up from 3,970 in 2000 to peak at 11,343 in 2007. Subsequently the number of permits declined to just 2,707 in 2013 to rise to 9,006 in 2017.

In 2017, PA approved the highest number of maisonettes (852) since 2006 and the second highest number of terraced houses (301) since 2006. This suggests a shift towards larger houses.

3,114 out of the 9,006 dwellings approved in 2015 were built on virgin land, compared to 1,275 in 2013. But as a percentage the number of dwellings on virgin land has decreased from 70% in 2000 to 35% now.

4,058 dwellings were the result of the demolition of older buildings while 1,804 were the result of the conversion of existing properties. The year 2017 registered the highest number of converted dwellings since 2000.

Conversions remained relatively stable between 2000 and 2004, 2005 experienced an increase, followed by a decline in 2006 and an increase in 2007 and 2008. This was followed by a decline between 2009-2013 and an increase since 2014.

The surge in approval of new dwellings between 2005 and 2007 coincided with a relaxation of building heights in urban areas.

It also coincided with Malta gearing up for adoption of the euro, when more people started channeling their undeclared money into property development, fuelling a spiral in property development between 2005 and 2007. The surge in permits after 2015 also coincided with a relaxation in planning regulation through design guidelines which effectively superseded height limitations enshrined in local plans and higher rates economic growth, which contrast with more restrictive planning policies and an economic downturn between 2008 and 2013.

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