The property market has continued growing in March 2023, with the number of promise of sale agreements having improved over previous month, but not as much as the Malta Developers Association (MDA) had previously claimed.

During March 2023, promise of sale agreements increased by 5.3 per cent year-on-year, with a total of 1,172 registered. Individual potential buyers accounted for 90.3 per cent of the agreements, with the rest involving companies.

The Malta Developers Association (MDA) had released a statement on 3rd April with their own figures on the property market, saying that the number of promises of sale increasing by 16 per cent and value by seven per cent, topping €410 million in a single month.

However, the figures released by the National Statistics Office (NSO) do not match the statement issued by the MDA.

According to the NSO, on a year-on-year basis, the number of promise of sale agreements increased by 5.3 per cent in March 2023, and on a month-to-month basis, the number it increased by 13.45 per cent.

This newsroom reached out to Michael Stivala, chairperson of the MDA, for clarification on the discrepancy in the data between the NSO and the MDA.

When asked whether figures issued by the MDA were comparing March 2023 to March 2022 or to February 2023, he explained that “there was a 16 per cent increase compared to the previous month of February 2023.”

In February 2023, data provided by the NSO shows that there were 1,033 promise of sale agreements, and 1,172, i.e, 139 more promise of sale agreements, which translates to a 13.45 per cent increase.

When asked whether the MDA has different data for the months under review, he said that “MDA’s figures stand on this as well.”

At time of writing, he did not explain how the MDA calculated a 16 per cent increase while the NSO shows a 13.45 per cent increase.

On a regional level, the property market was hottest in the Northern Harbour Region totalling 369 promise of sale agreements registered. It was followed by the Northern Region with 201 agreements registered.

The top three localities were St Paul’s Bay with 84 promise of sale agreements, followed by Birkirkara with 61 and St Julians with 53. The sum of agreements recorded in these localities exceeded 20 per cent of the total amount of promise of sale agreements registered during the month.

NSO

Meanwhile, number of final deeds of sale amounted to 1,036, a decrease of 12.9 per cent when compared to the previous year. This was coupled with a drop of 4.5 per cent in value which amounted to €249.1 million. This indicates that fewer properties were sold, but they were of higher value.

Individual buyers (households) were responsible for 93 per cent of all final deeds of sale, with companies accounting for virtually all the rest. The value of the deeds involving individual buyers (households) amounted to €207.1 million, equivalent to 83.1 per cent of the total value.

Number of final deeds of sale by period of registration (NSO)

While this indicates an improvement over the previous month, it hints at a downward trend compared to the previous year, with each month during the first quarter of 2023 having fewer final deeds of sale than the first quarter of 2022.

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