Fabian Demicoli

Pre-Budget recommendations– Developers Section

 The Budget is approaching and our developers section led by section president Sandro Chetcuti presented their elaborate paper this morning during a press conference.

The GRTU, through surveys amongst its members, notes that the current situation in the development industry exhibits oversupply in residential components for first time buyers, Stringent banking conditions and indecision by prospective buyers although market correction is taking place.

Recommendations to Avoid Hard Landing

Given the available housing stock Government should grab the opportunity to redirect public money (approximately Lm9 million) envisaged for the construction of 300 odd social housing units to more appropriately targeted incentives.

Allocate funds for the introduction of the pre-electoral promise re: shared ownership scheme.

Incentivise the rental and emphyteutical concessions by introducing a flat tax rate to owners.

Incentivise the rental and emphyteutical concessions by introducing tax credits to first time buyers for a given number of years.

Extend the 5 year option granted on final withholding tax to 8 years.  This is intended to save substantial numbers of developers from a serious credit crunch.

Elimination of double taxation in connection with final withholding tax on VAT payments.

Final withholding or capital gains should be paid on the real selling price ad not subject to Government's architects' valuation.

Set up task force made up of the relevant stakeholders to examine practical ways of addressing excess supply of housing units through the introduction of mixed use zoning given the current demand for commercial/office uses.

Tap the buoyant tourism market to promote the investment of foreign money in targeted areas of housing surplus.

In view of the Energy Directive, the Government should set up a fund to aid stakeholders in its implementation.

To tackle indecision by prospective buyers, GRTU strongly recommends a 6 month moratorium on the payment of stamp duty on property purchased by first time buyers.

The detailed proposal is on GRTU' website: www.grtu.org.mt. Meanwhile we encourage our member's comments on the issue.



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