Prime Minister Robert Abela on Friday urged property sector stakeholders not to “shoot themselves in the foot” by raising property prices after he unveiled details surrounding a €10,000 cash grant for first-time buyers.

Any buyer who purchased their first property within the past year will be eligible for a €1,000 annual cash grant as of next week. Eligible candidates need only to apply to participate for the grant, which would be received every year for a period of 10 years, amounting to €10,000.

Government announced that the measure will come into effect on Monday 20th February, and all first-time home buyers who purchased their property from 1st January 2022 and made use of a home loan for the purchase can apply.

The Prime Minister turned his attention to developers, saying he hopes they will not abuse of the scheme by raising property prices to match the grant.

“I want to urge anyone in the sector to not shoot themselves in the foot by increasing property prices,” Dr Abela said.

Dr Abela’s comments were made on the same day it emerged that a key banking player in the local market, HSBC Malta, has raised home loan interest rates for first time buyers, and doubled the minimum deposit threshold to 20 per cent.

The government’s latest scheme will be part of a wider package of support that the Government gives to first-time buyers. This includes, for example, the removal of stamp duty for first-time buyers, as well as other schemes for specific circumstances such as the Equity Sharing and New Hope, all of which “are aimed at upholding the spirit of social justice”.

This grant will not be subject to any means test, and the Housing Authority will be issuing annual payments during June by means of a bank transfer directly into the applicant’s bank account, if the applicant is the sole beneficiary, or into a joint account, if the applicant is a couple.

The applicants that bought their first residential home from 1 January 2022 have until 31 May 2023 to apply and receive their first payment in June 2023. If the contract is signed in 2023, applicants must apply by March 2024 and will receive the first payment in June 2024.

Applications are to be submitted on housingauthority.gov.mt.

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