Ta’s growth: Mal­tese or for­eign?

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS -

Should their be a cycli­cal de­cline in the growth pat­tern and in the mi­gra­tory in­flow of work­ers, the de­mand side of the rental mar­ket will slow down, given that most work­ers do not be­come per­ma­nent res­i­dents in Malta. This needs to be taken in the con­text of the grow­ing num­ber of prop­erty units. (See chart above)

Fabri says that in light of the nu­mer­ous in­fras­truc­tural projects set to com­mence in 2019, tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion should be con­sid­ered for for­eign work­ers. This would help min­imise the risk of over-sup­ply in the hous­ing mar­ket.

So­cial and af­ford­able hous­ing

Fabri says that ag­gre­gate growth fig­ures should not dis­tract us from the co­hort of peo­ple that are not ben­e­fit­ting from this pe­riod. Fig­ures show that prof­its are grow­ing faster than wages, in­di­cat­ing an un­even dis­tri­bu­tion of growth, with se­ri­ous so­cial ram­i­fi­ca­tions. The af­ford­abil­ity of prop­erty has be­come a chal­lenge for a grow­ing seg­ment of the pop­u­la­tion. It is cru­cial, there­fore, that the gov­ern­ment not only con­tin­ues in­vest­ing in hous­ing units, but, more im­por­tantly, re­forms the way so­cial as­sis­tance is given. Fabri be­lieves that Malta needs a sup­ply of tem­po­rary hous­ing shel­ters to ac­com­mo­date those fac­ing home­less­ness, per­haps more im­por­tantly, an­other so­cial hous­ing tier which will al­low peo­ple to have a de­cent home. Fabri adds that many of those fac­ing eco­nomic dif­fi­cul­ties of­ten suf­fer from so­cial and health is­sues. Sup­port and in­ter­ven­tion, there­fore, needs to be mul­ti­fac­eted. It is also en­cour­ag­ing to see that the gov­ern­ment is ac­tively con­sid­er­ing pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ships in this field.

Look­ing ahead

In con­clu­sion, Fabri says that this phase of strong eco­nomic growth and fis­cal sur­pluses should serve as a cat­a­lyst to truly cater for par­tic­u­lar so­ci­etal co­horts. The prop­erty mar­ket, es­pe­cially the rental sec­tor, will re­main an im­por­tant com­pet­i­tive­ness de­ter­mi­nant, and it is cru­cial the strains we are cur­rently see­ing are ad­dressed. The gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse, through its White Pa­per, is a step in the right di­rec­tion. He also be­lieves that this dis­cus­sion on rent and the chal­lenges that some co­horts are fac­ing should also lead us to a broader dis­cus­sion that fo­cuses on the qual­ity, rather than the quan­tity, of eco­nomic growth.

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