21 February 2007

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Malta Today



Frank Salt expecting a good year for the property market

Economic growth, excess liquidity in the monetary markets, increased Government spending, low cost flights and increasing buyer confidence are some of the factors which are expected to make 2007 a very good year for the property market according to Frank Salt Real Estate’s managing director, Joseph Lupi.
Lupi was addressing the company’s annual general conference held on 13 February at the Capua Palace, Victoria Hotel in Sliema.
Lupi gave a general overview of the market conditions that prevailed in 2006 and of the company’s operations during the year, where the company registered growth throughout all its operations particularly in the sale and letting of residential and commercial property in all of its branch network. The company has increased its market share in sales to first time buyers and second time buyers while retaining its share of sales to foreign buyers.
Sales to foreign buyers registered an increase when compared to the previous year, especially during the last quarter of the year. “We are pleased to note that the government has finally opened its doors to low cost carriers last year. This already led to an increase in interest in Malta property and more is expected this year,” Lupi said.
Lupi also gave a brief analysis of the properties available on the market for sale, emphasizing the fact that there is a good mix of properties currently on the market and others which should be coming on the market this year to meet prevailing demands.
Lupi totally disagreed with those who say that we shall be having a “glut” of unsold properties on our hands. “As long as we build properties that buyers want and buyers’ expectations are realistic, I cannot see any problems. In addition we should also try to attract foreign buyers both as permanent residents and holiday home owners. These factors should guarantee a sustainable and healthy property market,” he said.
With regard to recent claims that there are no properties for first time buyers because prices have gone up too high, Lupi said that property, like any other asset, appreciates every year and this will continue to happen in a free market. “The problem lies in the expectations of today’s first time buyers, which need to be in line with today’s realities. On our database we have over 1,500 properties which could be suitable for first time buyers and others are expected to come on the market this year,” he said.
During 2006, the company received the 5 Star International Property Award for Best Estate Agent 2006. Lupi thanked all the staff for their contribution towards this prestigious award, which the company has received for the second consecutive year in recognition of its commitment to the high level of quality services and customer care.
Lupi also outlined the company’s business plan and objectives for this year, which included the setting up of new specialised divisions within the company, new services which will be made available to clients and developers, appointments of new overseas associates, an extensive local and overseas marketing plan and the opening of two new branch offices. The company is currently carrying out recruitment and training exercise to fill vacancies which will be created by these initiatives.
At the end of the conference, Lupi handed out the annual awards to the best salespersons of the year and best performing branch, as well as performance bonuses to a good number of staff.
The conference was opened by company chairman Frank Salt who also thanked the staff for their continuous support in ensuring the growth of the company, year after year, while reminding them to always look after their clients. “The reason why our company has always been at the forefront of the real estate market for the last 37 years is because we have always sought to give a professional and honest service to our clients who come first before anything else,” Salt concluded.

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