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Malta’s real estate leaders have stated that the drop in residential property sales last month is “not worrying”, yet voiced concerns about the bureaucracy surrounding the completion of deals.

According to data released by the National Statistics Office on Wednesday, the number of final residential property sales last July decreased by 19.2 per cent when compared to the same month in 2022. On the other hand, promise of sale agreements were on the rise, increasing by 13.6 per cent. Additionally, the value of final deeds reached €278.3 million in total, a drop of 12.7 per cent when compared to 2022’s figure.

Following this, MaltaCEOs.mt reached out to Frank Salt Real Estate Ltd Director Douglas Salt and Dhalia Real Estate CEO Alan Grima to assess whether the decrease in final property sales is cause for concern.

Douglas Salt
Frank Salt Real Estate Ltd Director Douglas Salt

“Overall, it is not worrying as the number of promise of sale agreements is still increasing,” Mr Salt explained.

He remarked that had that number gone down significantly, it “would have been worrying”, yet this is not the case. Mr Salt said that the figures indicate that we are seeing a “return to normal levels” of sales.

Mr Grima said that overall, July proved to be similar to that of 2022 from Dhalia’s end, and even in terms of the whole year, 2023 seems to be “slightly better” than 2022. He also pointed out that the real estate industry primarily gauges performance on promise of sale agreements, rather than the final deeds of sale.

However, the two property specialists did express concerns about the discrepancy between the two figures, mainly stating that this is down to delays in the sale process.

Alan Grima
Dhalia Real Estate CEO Alan Grima

This echoes what other property leaders have said in recent months, with various service providers failing to keep up with the demand in the market, leading to final deeds of sale lagging behind promise of sale agreements.

“In terms of potential delays, banks, notaries, and other service providers are very busy,” Mr Salt said, before adding that the “back end does not seem to be keeping up with the front end”.

Mr Grima was in agreement, adding that the property market is experiencing delays for “various reasons”.

Such delays are prompting promise of sales to be extended by “two or three times”, he said, a trend the market has experienced “over the last few months”.

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