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Malta real estate market

One of the smallest and most densely populated countries in the world, Malta offers wonderful weather, political stability, low crime level, location in the centre of Mediterranean, and calm, balanced way of life. In Malta you are never far away from the seaside, while a varied choice of property selection from traditional Maltese houses to new build developments allows everyone to find a property to their taste.

Country overview

Malta consists of 3 largest islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. These 3 islands are inhabited, with Comino (the smallest out of 3 islands) having only a few official permanent residents, while being a bird sanctuary and a nature reserve. There is also a number of smaller islands in the country, which are all uninhabited. Therefore, two larger urban zones available for property purchases are “Valletta” (as the main island of Malta is frequently called) and Gozo. Malta, frequently referred to as Valletta, is the largest of the islands. Gozo, which is also a part of Malta, is the second-largest island in the archipelago. Compared to the larger main island of Malta, Gozo is significantly less developed and offers its own unique personality. Gozo is considered the centre of water sports, the top diving destination in the Mediterranean, and is known for its rural and scenic hills and antient historical temples.

The official statistic states that 97% of local population consider Maltese their first language, but 88% also speaks English, making property purchase and everyday life in Malta very convenient for international buyers, investors and tourists alike. It is convenient that legal documents assisting property purchase may also be in either English or Maltese languages.

Types of Maltese properties

Malta offers a good variety of properties to match different tastes. Traditional Maltese houses with marble floors and golden-stone walls are often given names in line with local tradition, and many combine modern and contemporary interiors with beautiful facades of traditional character houses. Apartments/flats is the most popular type of properties in Malta. Closely followed are Maisonettes, which are flats usually located on ground floor or lower floors of the buildings, with private entrance (as opposed to shared entrance facilities for flats and apartments). Some exceptional new build developments are also available to choose from for both apartments and villas.

Traditional houses

Those who preferer more traditional style of properties should be looking at traditional Maltese limestone properties, houses of character, breath-taking palazzos and farmhouses which usually come with acres of land. Many of such buildings are unique in their architecture and some have been around for many centuries. These properties are frequently renovated by new owners to combine uniqueness, character and style of traditional Maltese houses with modern décor and convenience of contemporary appliances within the building. You might have already come across such character Maltese buildings as they can frequently gain attention on Pinterest, Instagram and other social platforms, since combination of gorgeous interior design and extraordinary architecture features makes them very attractive and unique homes.

Single-levelled bungalows with private pool and garden are also popular option, while those looking for apartments but preferring more traditional properties can explore converted terraced houses.

Malta is a very small country offering a very large variety of architecture to match different tastes and busy touristic locations as well as slow-paced environment of villages and natural beauty. It is advisable to visit both beautiful Valletta area (the capital Valletta has been named European Capital of culture in 2018) and quieter Gozo before making a decision which location will suit your preferences best.

Malta Individual Investor Programme (IIP)

Under the criteria of Maltese Individual Investor Programme (IIP), the minimum price of the property in Malta must be EUR 350,000. This amount can buy you an apartment, or even a small house in some places. For those considering luxury end of real estate market, properties of about EUR 1,5 mil. can buy you a beautiful house with direct see access, or a modern beautifully done apartment. Property prices in Malta have been raising over the past years powered by inflow of international investors wishing to receive Maltese residence and therefore having to buy or rent property in Malta, as well as due to limited availability of land recourses and high popularity of Malta among British retirees.

How to Buy Your Property in Malta

Once the suitable property has been found and the price of the sale negotiated and accepted by the seller, the Preliminary Agreement needs to be signed, also known locally as a Konvenju. This agreement binds both parties to the transaction and specifies a date by which everything needs to be finalised.

Initial costs

At this stage, the following payments will have to be made by the buyer:

  • an agreed deposit, usually it stands at 10% of the property price
  • 1% of stamp duty (part of total 5% stamp duty, with remaining 4% balance payable on signing of the final deed)

Then both seller and buyer will need to work on completing their side of the deal as specified in Konvenju, such as the buyer collecting any necessary forms and permits as has been specified in Preliminary Agreement, while the buyer’s notary will carry out the search ensuring the property has no underlying problems.

Final costs

When the above process will be completed, the Final Deed will have to be signed. The specific date will be arranged for signing the Deed, which usually happens at the notary’s office. At this stage the buyer will have to transfer the remaining balance to the seller, as well as pay the remaining stamp duty and the notary fees. Overall, around 8 % of the property price should be allocated for the purchase-related expenses such as:

  • 5% of property price – Stamp Duty
  • 1 – 3% of property price – Notary Fees
  • 0 – 1% – other fees such as Ministry of Finance Fee and Registration of the property

If the property is located in the registration area, the notary will also have to apply to the Land Registry with a proof of ownership to register a property as required by local legislation.

Property in Malta for Non-EU residents

Non-European nationals, as well as European nationals who do not reside in Malta, will require a permit for buying immovable property in Malta. The AIP (Acquisition of Immovable Property) permit must be issued by the ministry of Finance. It takes 6 to 8 weeks to receive the permit, and there is a requirement of property in question to be sold for a minimum price limit, which is € 103,906 for flat or maisonette and € 173,129 for any other immovable property.

Special areas

There are however number of areas in both Malta and Gozo referred to as Special Designated Areas, where properties can be purchased without any restrictions and without seeking AIP Permit.

Ideal home in the Mediterranean

Malta is quickly becoming a luxury hub in the Mediterranean, with crystal clear waters, rich history, and beautiful real estate. The island attracts over 1.6 million tourists every year, which is 3 times the number of residents in the country, and lucrative opportunities offered by Investment and Residency programmes in Malta make this country an attractive destination for investment into real estate.

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