Number of private property rental contracts up 2.4% in 2022

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 July, 2023 at 12:13 pm by Andre Camilleri

Active registered private property rental contracts stood at 47,879 at the end of 2022, an increase of 24% compared to a year earlier, a study issued by the Housing Authority shows.

The Housing Authority has published a detailed study that provides a holistic assessment of the private rental market based on registered contracts. This study is intended to further enhance the transparency of the rental market in Malta.

Following the rent reform in 2020, the Malta Housing Authority has now gained a unique position within the market, which allows it to sustain a bird’s eye view of this sector. The authority said it believes that a balanced and sustainable rental market is essential for fostering social cohesion, economic growth, and the overall well-being of our society.

Other key highlights of the report are the following:

  • Slightly less than 95% of active contracts are for long-term leases (i.e., with a duration of at least one year), with a further 5% classified as shared spaces. Less than 0.5% are registered as short-term leases. 
  • 21,529 contracts were renewed during 2022. Most of these renewals were automatic and for a period of one year. Renewals contribute to rent stability – 95% of renewed contracts in 2022 kept the same price.
  • Since the establishment of the rent register, 9,500 multi-year contracts have been registered with the Housing Authority – 7,061 were still active by 31 December 2022. The median duration of currently active multi-year contracts is 3 years although some of these contracts, especially those signed prior to 2020, have a much longer duration.
  • St Paul’s Bay remains the most popular locality, with around 7,300 active leases in 2022, followed by Sliema, Msida, Gzira and St Julian’s.
  • The Northern Harbour remains the most concentrated region with 44% of active leases, followed by the Northern region with 25%. Gozo accounts for 7% of active leases.
  • Thirteen localities, all in Malta, were hosts to more than 1,000 active contracts by the end of 2022.
  • 80% of rental contracts are for apartments. In terms of size, most of the contracts registered are for two-bedroom and three-bedroom properties.
  • Around 27% of new contracts (excluding shared spaces) signed between July and December 2022 have a monthly rent between €700 and €899. 29% of the most recent rents exceed €1,000 per month while around 14% have a monthly rent of €500 or less. For shared spaces, 60% of active leases in 2022 have a monthly rent between €100 and €299.
  • Indices based on hedonic methodology show that rents have now surpassed the pre-COVID levels. The growth rate in rents has been gradually increasing since mid-2021. On average, rents have increased by 6.6% in 2022H2 compared to 2021H2.
  • The report applies the hedonic model to estimate the monthly rent for an apartment in 2022Q4 with a long-term lease by region and key localities in Malta and Gozo. The most expensive rents are found in the localities of Sliema, St. Julian’s and Swieqi while, in general, rents in Gozo tend to be lower than in Malta.

The report also includes a box that looks at recently published statistics on the number of foreign workers in Malta and the changing profile of demand for rental housing.

The CEO of the Housing Authority, Matthew Zerafa, remarks that “This is the third consecutive year in which the Authority is publishing such a report, which has gradually become one of the key annual publications on the property market in Malta. This study comes at a crucial time when the dynamics of the private rental market in Malta are fast evolving. Hence, the need for comprehensive analysis and informed decision-making has never been as important.”

Starting from this year, the Housing Authority said it will start to publish updates of this study on a biannual basis.

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