Maltatoday, Sunday 22nd June 2008, by James Debono
The Malta Environment and Planning Authority approved 65,737 new dwellings between January 1998 and May 2008, despite a corresponding increase of 17,000 vacant properties between 1995 and 2005.
A total of 34,146 new dwellings have been approved since 2005.
The number of permits for new dwellings has shot up from just 2,994 in 1998 to 11,343 in 2007 – an increase of 293%.
The greatest increase was registered in the number of apartments approved by MEPA which increased from 1,651 in 1998 to 10,252 in 2007: an increase of 521%.
On the other hand the number of maisonettes declined slightly from 755 to 696 over the same period. The most significant decrease was registered in the number of terraced houses approved by MEPA, which declined from 406 to 257.
While there was a steady increase in the number of apartments approved by MEPA, permits for maisonettes and terraced houses peaked in 2003 when 1,499 larger dwellings were approved.
Despite the massive increase in new apartments, the latest census shows that 43,108 properties are completely vacant all year round. 23,076, or 43% of all vacant properties are in a good state and a further 11,343 or 21% of the vacant property stock only need minor repairs.