Henry Zammit Ben Estates

Following the onset of the pandemic, local rental rates fell by 11 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, according to research carried out by the Central Bank of Malta.

As a result, leading estate agents are reporting that most expats are now managing to satisfy their expectations and are finding better property with their budget.

Since COVID hit, demand has rebounded somewhat, as the country steadily continues to open up its economy.

To this end, Ben Estates Franchise Owner and Manager Henry Zammit spoke to iGaming Capital magazine to shed light on lessons learnt since the pandemic.

According to Mr Zammit, the price drop is most likely to affect investors that were still new to the market with a new property for rent. Still, he says, investing in property was never a short-term thing. “I strongly believe that better days are heading our way, and investors will recuperate their losses. On the other hand, clients will benefit from this situation, getting better prices for a few years, which makes the situation fair for both parties,” he affirms.

Some have even expressed the sentiment that the drop has corrected the property price bubble in Malta, correcting over-pricing in key locations. Acknowledging that the situation “may have helped get prices back on track, since a few areas have been set to become over-priced,” Mr Zammit reiterates that an investment in property is long term, emphasising that “having an impression that the property can be rented at a higher price just because we are passing through a good quarter is not healthy for owners.”

As things stand, Mr Zammit feels that most expats are managing to satisfy their expectations when it comes to finding a rental property. “The market has a good number of units, meaning that one can have a few options to choose from and not have to grab the first one available at the time”, he noted.

Mr Zammit feels that the lessons imparted by the COVID-19 pandemic should not be forgotten, not only in relation to rental prices, but also when it comes to the relationship between tenants and property owners. “During COVID, we had owners who were willing to help tenants out when they had a hard time paying rent,” he points out, arguing that “owners should appreciate their clients more, because without clients there is no need for their property.”

Looking towards the future of the industry, he adds, “if we grow at a slower pace, I think we will all hurt a bit less if something like this were to ever happen again. Malta is a small island and I’m very confident that better days will be back soon, but we must not forget this experience.”

This is an extract of a feature first carried in the summer edition of iGaming Capital magazine, the sister publication to iGamingCapital.mt

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