Malta is a country that is a hot destination for tourists. But there’s a dark side to the island that most visitors don’t see. Overpopulation has pushed Malta above its carrying capacity, leading to rampant construction that is ravaging the landscape and making living in Malta unsustainable. The focus on a single economic driver has led the country to neglect personal well-being, freedom, and happiness for money, material possessions, and short-term gains. This short-sighted approach to economic development has severe consequences on relationships, quality of life, and overall well-being.
when it comes to buying property in Malta, property is seen as the main goal of one’s economic security. Most young people wanting to buy a home or apartment need to now work at least two jobs for years before they can live independently in their own private space. Taking out a loan has become akin to modern-day slavery. Banks are offering loans to residents, however, most are finding it hard or impossible to pay off such loans within a reasonable timeframe. This leaves people stuck in fiscal limbo, they can neither pay off the mortgage nor walk away from their home without losing everything they have invested.
In this article, we will explore why living in Malta has become such a challenge and how buying property can be considered a form of modern-day slavery. We will also look at how this unsustainable situation can be reversed and how individuals can be freed from their shackles of debt.
Overview of Malta’s Sustainability Issues
Over the past 10 years, the population has grown significantly reaching 516,000, according to the last census. Malta has become the most densely populated country in Europe. The influx of new residents has placed an enormous strain on the island’s already finite resources and infrastructure. In response, the government has implemented policies to spur development and meet local demand, particularly in the form of construction projects.
Unfortunately, this has had a devastating effect on the environment. Construction sites frequently release pollutants into the air, resulting in increased ailments for local residents – especially those with respiratory issues. Additionally, due to this extensive development, Malta is losing vital green spaces and wild areas at alarming rates.
What’s more, many Maltese cannot enjoy any sense of security in their own homes or even afford them in the first place. As real estate prices soar above average incomes, so too have mortgages – leaving many citizens mired in debt and essentially enslaved by banks and lenders.
Its a known fact that salaries in Malta are not the highest in Europe, however, although the salaries are considered to be good in terms of living when it comes to buying a home the salary is not enough to buy the property and many Maltese locals need to approach banks and take out loans. Of course, there are Maltese who have good incomes and make a good salary that allows them to purchase a property with less stress and financial burden but these are not the majority of the population.
Exploring the Reasons Behind Overpopulation
As the economy of the country grew so did the demand for foreign workers. However, most recruitment agencies are not after high-wage European workers but are opting to recruit low-salary third-country nationals, which are less costly.
The benefit for most companies is that they can gain more workers for the price of 1. Most 3rd country nationals see Malta as attractive as not only does it offer a high quality of life, but the cost of living is lower than in other parts of Europe. Unfortunately, the massive growth of population has led to increasing demands for housing, food, and commodities, Malta being a tiny island has an unsustainable level of population growth. In fact, Malta’s population has grown by 35% since 2000.
This rise in the population has led to a housing price boom, with rental prices soaring and banks offering easy credit to entice would-be homeowners into buying property. Banks don’t care about the environmental impact or the overcrowding, they just want people to buy more property and the main driver is economic profitability over personal happiness and well-being.
Despite the relatively low cost of buying property in Malta (compared to Europe or UK), many homeowners find themselves in crippling debt as a result of their purchases being secured against their properties. It’s no surprise that this is having a negative effect on mental health and well-being, with many now feeling enslaved by the loans and trapped in financial uncertainty.
How Overdevelopment Is Threatening Malta’s Economy
The current construction boom in Malta, due to the influx of new residents, is threatening the island’s economy. Not only does land become more expensive with increased demand, but the destruction of green spaces also decimates the country’s ecology and takes away economic opportunities in tourism. To top it all off, Malta has been ranked second-lowest in air quality among European countries, largely due to emissions from construction sites.
What’s worse is that these factors have led to a concerning trend, Maltese citizens are living beyond their means, often taking out mortgages they cannot afford inorder to live lifestyles that are non sustainable. The resulting debt then creates a form of modern-day slavery, with individuals stuck paying back an ever-increasing amount each month to banks and other lenders. This puts them at risk of losing their homes if they are unable to make their payments on time.
Obviously, this situation is not sustainable and it needs to be addressed by both government policymakers and citizens alike. Until then, living in Malta is becoming an increasingly risky prospect for prospective property buyers.
The High Cost of Buying Property in Malta
Lets face it, Malta’s high property prices are not deterring the country’s overpopulation problem. The majority of homes require financing through a bank loan or mortgage, which has led to many homeowners being trapped in a cycle of debt that can take decades to escape. Strict repayment terms limit financial freedom, leading to monthly payments that consume most of a family’s disposable income, leaving little room for savings or investments.
Due to the high cost of buying property in Malta:
- Many homeowners are stuck in a cycle of debt that can take decades to break free from.
- Borrowers must adhere to strict repayment terms dictated by their lender, limiting their financial freedom and budgeting decisions for the duration of their loan period.
- Monthly payments have become so steep that they consume most of a family’s disposable income, leaving little room for savings or investments.
- The dependence on lenders can cause mental health issues and create stress within households due to lack of financial security or ability to make long-term plans.
These factors make it nearly impossible for families in Malta to live sustainably and build wealth beyond their home purchase – and all because of an unsustainable housing market where demand far outstrips supply.
How Buying Property Becomes Modern Day Slavery
Buying property in Malta has become increasingly difficult due to the rising costs of construction, but even if you were able to purchase a house, it does not guarantee a sustainable lifestyle. Banks require that you put down a large portion of the sale price before you can enter into an agreement with them, meaning that whatever money you put down is gone forever. Once the loan has been secured, you must then make regular payments towards it from your salary. This means that your earnings are suddenly reduced as a significant chunk is owed to banks every month.
This cyclical system makes people slaves to the banks and property developers, leaving them without any control or security over what will happen in the future. This is why living in Malta is no longer seen as a viable option for those looking for sustainable lifestyles.
What Alternatives Are Available to Avoid Bank Slavery?
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to avoid the property issues as the land is limited and the living space does not offer many options. However, there are some alternatives available to help alleviate the financial burden. Here are a few other options to consider:
Home Equity Loan
A home equity loan allows you to borrow against the value of your home without having to liquidate any assets. This type of loan typically offers lower interest rates and allows you better control over your monthly payments.
Co-ownership is an arrangement wherein two or more people share ownership and responsibilities for a piece of property. This arrangement can be beneficial for both parties as it can help spread out the costs and provide more financial flexibility.
Renting is often the best option for those who do not wish to commit to purchasing property outright in Malta. Rentals are generally much cheaper than buying, allowing you access housing without taking on too much financial risk. Renting gives you increased flexibility as most contracts allow you to move out with relatively short notice if needed.
When it comes to rent, the location where one rents makes a difference on the rental prices. Most try to rent in central locations like Sliema, st julians, Swieqi and Valletta, however, the smaller Maltese villages might offer cheaper options are also a more peaceful environment.
However, Rents are also becoming increasingly expensive over time.
With its high population density and reliance on foreign investment to build infrastructure Malta is becoming a place where buying property is nothing more than a form of economic gain and profits for the big developers.
Coupled with the exorbitant prices of property and the ludicrous interest rates of banks, the citizens of Malta are left in a precarious situation, unable to buy property, while simultaneously seeing their beloved island being ruined by construction and overpopulation. It’s a situation that must be addressed sooner rather than later, especially as Malta’s citizens struggle to keep up with the growing cost of living.
Other economic models need to be looked at and we must diversify away from just one single main economic driver. Areas that can offer strong economic gains and also make us less reliant on construction are various.
Technology, medical and pharmaceutical sectors are all lucrative and Malta has a large number of trained professionals that are working jobs that don’t fit their level of education. A drive to move away from the construction industry and the slavery of 3rd country nationals paid minimum wage jobs have never been so important, If we want The Maltese youth to have a decent quality of life we need to engage the smart young people in jobs that generate wealth and social advancement not just material possession and money,