One of the predicted effects of the pandemic was that it would lead to new couples losing the opportunity to gain a foothold up the property ladder, due to a rise in unemployment.
However, a scientific survey carried out by the National Statistics Office under supervision of Eurostat indicates that in 2020, 79% of Maltese households owned their homes. This translates into around 163,000 families being homeowners.
In 2012 the home ownership rate in Malta was 77.5%. At the time there were 118,637 families who owned their homes. Which means that in the last eight years more than 44,000 families have become homeowners.
In addition, it appears that despite the pandemic more families became homeowners even in 2020. In 2019 there were some 151,000 homeowners. This means that on average in the first year of the pandemic, each month around 1,000 families became homeowners. This is testament to the efficacy of the housing measures and policies that have been implemented already.
Rise in homeownership among people at risk of poverty
The strength and effectiveness of Government decisions can be grasped also by looking at the homeownership rate and how it impacts households at risk-of-poverty or social exclusion. For instance, the proportion of single parents owning their homes in 2020 reached 68%, against 60% in 2012. Today 4,700 single parents are homeowners, versus 2,600 in 2012.
The survey also points to a substantial improvement in the situation of households in our country. While in 2012 there were 56% who thought that the costs related to their residence (such as lighting and water, rent or payments on house loans) were of a substantial burden, the ratio fell to 24% in 2020.
Under the previous administration housing costs in Malta had risen almost continuously to 5.6% from 5.6% to 7%. Since the change in administration the burden has fallen, so much that it is now 4.9%.
In addition, the NSO study indicates that while in 2012 39% of households believed that where they live is affected by pollution, grime, or environmental problems, it has now decreased to 32%. The survey also shows a decline in the percentage of households who feel they live in a residence is too small for them (4.2% versus 4.5% in 2013).
Thanks to the many schemes introduced in the Budget, the success of our nation to become a homeowner appears quite rosy.