Is Malta a Good Choice for Real Estate Investors?
by Frank Salt Real Estate
14th September 2021
Several factors contribute to the allure of real estate investment in Malta. With a vibrant economy, an extremely attractive business environment for national and international companies and a booming construction sector, Malta ticks all the right boxes for investors wanting to expand their investment portfolios through the acquisition of some of the EU’s most sought-after real estate.
To support this positive sentiment, we can also look inward as historically locals still have a preference for purchasing and owning property rather than renting. Having any noteworthy savings in a low-interest-bearing account at one of the local banks is not considered as the wisest move and this practice has set many a family well on the path to becoming independently wealthy simply by investing in real estate over time.
Malta is also globally considered as an economically stable country, safe both geographically and politically setting the stage for many investors to buy property here. We look at some of the key points.
As one of Europe’s most successful economic countries, Malta’s employment sector attracts some of the brightest minds from around the world working in finance, i-Gaming, maritime and manufacturing. The demand from tourism and foreign workers for accommodation has benefitted the country’s real estate sector tremendously, with many investors buying property for short-term letting purposes.
The many residency options offered by Malta to foreign nationals have also played a positive role in driving up the prices of real estate, whether it is for outright purchase or rentals, since the various programmes have almost always included a minimum purchase or rental agreement price as one of the qualifying criteria. The only exception of recent is the Digital Nomad visa where price was not a determining factor for residency consideration.
A sound investment due to capital appreciation
The average capital appreciation for real estate in Malta was around 6% for 2020 according to Global Property Guide and at times much higher such as in 2016 when it hit a high of 13.8%! Consumer confidence remains strong and is predicted to remain so post the initial impact the early years of the Covid pandemic had on property investment, although Malta’s real estate industry hardly blinked during this time.
What are the favourite locations for investment?
Generally speaking, it all depends on one’s lifestyle preferences, but for many investors the areas of St. Julian’s and Sliema remain top of the list. Bordering neighbourhoods have also not gone unnoticed and certainly offer more value for money, but those that are interested in a slower pace of life have opted for the sister island of Gozo where demand for especially farmhouses and bigger properties have experienced a surge in the last year. Malta itself also offers some really good rural locations as options namely Rabat, Zebbug and in the south Marsaxlokk and Marsascala.
What types of properties are there to choose from?
Malta is well-known for its apartments, but there are countless penthouses, farmhouses, maisonettes, houses of character and even palazzos to be found. Many foreign buyers who come to settle or retire in Malta favour traditional houses to renovate or ones that are already refurbished and renovated or alternatively go for something that is lock-up-and-go ready, offers easy maintenance and properties that are generally fuss-free.
Depending on where and what you buy, properties can be acquired from a hundred and thirty thousand euros (the minimum amount allowed for foreign buyers) to many millions of euros. Something to keep in mind is that people who have resided for less than five years in the country can only buy one property as their primary residence and have to obtain an AIP permit when buying a home outside approved designated areas. The cost of an AIP permit is €233 and usually issued within just over a month.
Investing in a rental property
Any investor can purchase a property to rent out, given that certain criteria have been met. The property’s value needs to be in excess of €233,000, must have a pool and needs to be registered with the Tourism Authorities/Hotel and Catering Board. Only short-term rentals are allowed on foreign-owned property. Should this interest you as an investor, the best is to speak to a trusted estate agent who will be able to advise you on the latest legislation regarding this.
The value of dealing with a trusted real estate agency as an investor
Buying a property in Malta is an easy, straight-forward process but there are huge advantages to appointing a trusted estate agency to act on your behalf. They will not only find you the right selection of properties to choose from but will be able to advise you on all the rules and regulations, the costs involved, the legislation and the do’s and don’ts. Once you have decided on what property you want to buy, they will interact under your approval with notaries, architects, government departments and declare all costs involved in the whole process of acquiring the property you have chosen. Once the process is underway and you have signed a Promise of Sale, you can rest assured that you will be in the hands of a trusted property professional who will make sure that you do not come across any hurdles hindering you from becoming the rightful owner of your dream investment property in Malta.