Earlier this year, Re/Max Malta commissioned the “Real Estate Insights Survey”, which is complete quantitative survey on the property trends and dwellings in Malta so that the agency can better understand the Maltese real estate market and deliver cutting-edge industry information to the community. This is undoubtedly part of Re/Max’s commitment to the general public to deliver an unprecedented service to buyers and sellers in Malta and Gozo, so that they will be in a position to make more knowledgeable decisions when dealing with their property requirements.
The study was carried out by Informa Consultants and consisted of quantitative research through a questionnaire which also integrated a number of questions used internationally to assess trends in property purchases and dwelling compositions.
The objective of the study was to dig deeper into the actual understanding of the household by asking relevant questions including: where they live, the type of dwelling, household expenditure, the number of times (if any) they moved house, any decisions they make before looking for a new home and what really transpires during their buying experience. The survey reveals fascinating results which we would like to share.
One of the facts from our findings is that the majority of households in Malta live in either terraced houses or townhouses (34.4%), 29.4% live in flats/apartments, while 28.9% live in maisonettes/ground-floor tenements. As we see more and more townhouses and terraced houses being demolished to accommodate the development of apartments and maisonettes, in the next few years, we are expecting these figures to change, as we begin to see other types of dwellings surpass the traditional townhouse and more modern terraced house.
According to this survey, 67% of the population has never moved house whereas, on average, persons in Malta only move house 1.4 times in their lifetime. This is an interesting statistic since the average European moves house 4 times (source: www.at-home-in-europe.eu/europeans-only-move-four-times-in-their-lives). It also takes Maltese an average of thirteen years to move home the first time, thirteen years to move the second time, and nine and eight years respectively to move the third and fourth time.
The fact that it takes the Maltese so long to move house is an age-old tradition which we are inevitably moving away from altogether. Today, we are seeing young couples and bachelors renting or buying homes earlier on in their lives – very often as early as their first or second year at University. This trend is one to look out for in the future, as we foresee an increase in the number of home moves and a decrease in the number of years between such moves.
It is also quite astonishing to see that 18.4% of the sampled population owned a secondary residence, compared to the 15.5% average in Europe. Just second-home-ownership0.6% owned their second home abroad while 23.9% of second residences were located in Gozo, 12% in St. Paul’s Bay and 7.6% in Marsascala. The majority (38%) of the respondents that owned a second home said that they used theirs as a vacation property whereas 33% of the respondents said their second homes were used for investment purposes. This statistic shows that the Maltese believe in investing in brick and mortar, whether it is for personal use or an investment.
Re/Max delved further into the housing expenditure whereby the interviewers asked the respondents how much they spent, including their mortgage, maintenance and utilities, from their annual income. The overall average spend on housing amounts to 26% of the total household income. When compared to the European average, the Maltese spend 14% less, which means that though our utilities are somewhat on the high side, we spend less on housing, especially since there is no council tax and labour costs are relatively low.
The second part of the survey concentrated on the number of people living in each residence and the size of the average household itself. It transpired that 3 residents live in the majority (29%) of the sample households, whereas there are 4 and 2 residents living in 27% and 26% of the sample households respectively. The households where only 1 person lived accounted for 4.8%, whereas those homes where 5 persons and more lived accounted for 12.2% of the sampled households.
As for the average size of the home, our findings show that people in the average household live in a median average of 2.7 bedrooms or a mode average ofAverage Bedrooms, terraces, 3 bedrooms. 58% of the people surveyed said that they have 2 bathrooms, whereas 40% said that they had 1 balcony or terrace.
The last part of the survey focused on the behavior process of a property purchase. This constituted a number of questions related to a previous property purchase. 31% of the targeted population participants said that they initially turn to newspapers, with 28.2% stating they would go to a real estate website, whereas 27% said they would talk to their local real estate agent directly. Seemingly so, younger buyers (25 to 24) are more inclined to search online (46.6%), with those aged between 35 and 44 also preferring to search for properties on the web first (36.7%). As the age increased, the more traditional media became a more popular means to find a property.
The most critical factors when searching for a property were price (68%) and location (56.2%), while type of property and layout followed with 27.8% and 24.8% respectively.
Generally, people also place a high importance on the ability to park close to their residence while having a balcony/terrace came in second when asked about their preference in amenities. In terms of impact a residence could have on a potential buyer, the brightness of a property was confirmed as the most likely factor that could influence a potential buyer. Among other factors, general condition, location and the surroundings were mentioned, respectively.
Furthermore, the time and number of properties it took the respondents to find a home during their last property purchase experience, is also noteworthy. On average it took people four months to find a home, during which the respondents visited an average of eleven properties before they made up their mind.