Real Estate Market Research June 18

31.8% Think It’s the Right Time to Buy a Home

Following an in-depth independent survey carried out in June 2018, RE/MAX Malta discovered a selection of salient points related to the real estate market in Malta, including that 59.8% of those interviewed think that the property sector on the island is stronger than it was a year ago.  

As the leading estate agent on the island, RE/MAX Malta believes in constantly staying at the forefront of the industry. So, it is with that in mind that we regularly carry out in-depth independent surveys to better understand the very latest trends and tendencies active in the market at the moment.

Stronger real estate market

The Survey

So, in June 2018, we entrusted Esprimi with carrying out a quantitative survey of 500 respondents aged 18 or over, using a sample that was representative of the general population. The research was carried out using Computer Aided Telephone Interviewing, and the respondents were an equal mix of men and women, from across all the regions in Malta, and from across a variety of age groups and socio-economic categories. Of the respondents, the majority worked in the private sector, while others worked in the public sector, were retired, were students, were housewives, were self-employed, or were unemployed.

The Findings

The survey asked the respondents about their current situation with regards to property ownership. Of those interviewed, 62.8% were existing homeowners and not looking to buy, while 12.4% were first time buyers, 6.6% were renting their home, 3.2% were rental investors, 3% were looking to upsize or downsize, and 1.2% were looking to sell. 10.8% did not fall into any category.

When it comes to the stability of the market, of those that provided an answer, 56% stated that feel the market is stable. As for their thoughts on whether they agree with the positive outlook of the real estate market, over 50% said that they think this is positive or very positive, with just 5.2% saying that they totally disagree that the outlook is positive Those that didn’t agree with the positive outlook, cited environmental concerns and over-construction as their biggest worry, followed by fears the market is overrated and could collapse, as well as worries that there are too many vacant properties.

 

CEO of RE/MAX Malta Kevin Buttigieg commented: “These results are consistent with our quarterly surveys and lament the fact that the general public feel the positivity in the market.  There will always be the small percentage of the public that are overly conservative.”

When asked about how they compare the real estate market today to the one that existed a year ago, 59.8% of those asked said they believe it is ‘stronger’ or ‘much stronger’, while just 4.4% said it was ‘weaker’ or ‘much weaker’. As for whether it is the right time to buy a house (or a second house), 31.8% think that it is a ‘good time’ or a ‘very good time’ to do so, while 51.4% think that it ‘isn’t really a good time’, or that it ‘isn’t a good time at all’.

As for second properties, the survey found that 83.6% of people do not own a second property, while 16.4% do. Of those that do, it was those in the 50-60 age group that were most likely to own a second home. Meanwhile, those with a second home, mostly used it as a rental property (43.9%), while others had it for personal use (42.68%) or for investment purposes (13.41%). The survey found that the most popular locations for second homes included St Paul’s Bay, Marsacala, Sliema, Birzebbugia and Swieqi.

As for whether people prefer to buy a property as an investment versus having other types of investments, the overwhelming majority of respondents said they would prefer to buy a property. 92.4% stated that they would like to own a home rather than rent one, 88.2% chose to own a home rather than invest in stocks or shares, and 93.8% opted to buy a property rather than invest in savings or a fixed account.

The survey then looked into whether respondents had dealt with any real estate agents in the last five years and were asked if they had any suggestions as to how estate agents could improve and what their general perception was . Of those surveyed, and those that had dealt with real estate agencies, the most frequently-mentioned suggestion for improvement was for them to be more in tune with their clients’ needs, followed by building on trust, to provide more information about the properties, and to be more qualified. Generally, the survey found that agents were perceived in a positive light but are considered commission driven.

“At RE/MAX we are well aware of the perception of real estate agencies in Malta and regularly commission these surveys to help us understand the general market needs so that we can adjust our training and strategies to align and improve,” Kevin continues. “In fact, over the next 12 months we will be rolling out a Service Standard to the general public in line with our commitment to the industry.”

Finally, respondents were asked to name their top-of-mind real estate agency, and the majority – 65.2% – highlighted RE/MAX Malta in this regard.