Sliema rental prices up 80% in six years

There is a significant increase in price in each locality but rental prices in Mellieha and Sliema have gone up by over 80% over the six-year period

Economic growth has brought with it an increase in foreign workers and this has in turn created a greater demand for accommodation
Economic growth has brought with it an increase in foreign workers and this has in turn created a greater demand for accommodation

The cost of buying or renting a home is an expense that takes up a large part of people’s income. But it is also an expense that has been steadily increasing in the past years, and one which has contributed in no small part to some who are struggling to make ends meet.  

A MaltaToday exercise to find out how big the increase in rental prices has been in Sliema, Mosta and Mellieha between 2010 and 2016, with data obtained from classified listings in the Sunday Times of Malta, showed at least an 80% price increase for Sliema alone.

Over 350 individual prices were collected from print and online adverts, with prices divided by the number of bedrooms advertised.

While the amount of data collected might not be a perfect representation of rental prices nationally, the prices – from classified listings appearing on the first Sunday of March and the first Sunday of October of each year – give a good indication as to how difficult it is to find accommodation in a particular locality for a given budget. 

There is a significant increase in price in each locality however, according to the data collected, rental prices in Mellieha and Sliema have gone up by over 80% over the six-year period. 

A big part of the reason for this increase is the influx of foreigners into Malta. Economic growth has brought with it an increase in foreign workers and this has in turn created a greater demand for accommodation.

While this is to be expected, there is some fear that if current trends persist, some may be priced out, with little chance of finding affordable accommodation.

When contacted, Francis Spiteri Paris, managing director at Perry Real Estate Agents, agreed that the increase in rental prices has been driven by foreign workers and didn’t think the trend would be changing soon. 

Cost of renting single bedroom (Euro)
Cost of renting single bedroom (Euro)

“Maltese people don’t rent, they buy. It is foreigners who really rent properties. The truth is we are moving closer to European prices, foreigners are used to these types of prices. I would even say that we’re still cheaper than most other countries,” Spiteri Paris said.

In his Budget Speech, finance minister Edward Scicluna announced that from next year, rental contracts of more than three months will have to be registered with the Inland Revenue Department. 

This could potentially lead to a further increase in prices, with landlords who had previously not been declaring their full earnings now being required to do so, and therefore increasing prices in order to maintain the same profit margin.

Spiteri Paris however said that from his experience the vast majority of people are registered with the authorities, insisting that the measure will not affect rental prices. 

Spiteri Paris also disputed proposals for capping rising prices with controls. “You can’t have a property worth €3,000 and tell someone that they can only rent it out for €2,000: it doesn’t makes sense,” he insisted.

With rent prices unlikely to be capped in the near future and property prices expected to increase further, it remains to be seen how the government will ensure the availability of accommodation that is affordable to the public.

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