Housing in Malta
As 78.2% of all households in Malta own their main dwelling and 60% of households belong to mortgage-free owners (National Statistics Office, 2018), the inequality between those who own their main dwelling and those who do not is more than the quantitative difference of 21.8%. There is a qualitative inequality threatening social wellbeing that may be clarified by Robert K. Merton’s sociological analysis (1968).
Merton explained that deviance results when mainstreamed cultural goals cannot be accomplished through socially acceptable institutionalised means. In layperson’s terms this is a carrot chase scenario where giving up the chase is associated with social disorientation (anomie or normlessness), which Merton associates with the rise of innovative and technically expedient yet often illegal means used to access the culturally desirable goals.
In other sociological research, anomie has also been associated with suicide (Durkheim, 1979). The above breeds a social justiceoriented rationale for incentives targeting increased home ownership, such as Malta’s 2019 Budget incentives that include the equity-sharing scheme for people who have turned 40 and are interested in buying a home, as well as stamp duty reduction for first-time buyers and second-time buyers (Scicluna, 2018).