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How to make a good property investment in Malta

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Everything you need to know is included in our Malta Property Pack

Whether you're looking for a historic townhouse in Valletta, a chic apartment in Sliema, or a valuable rental investment on the charming island of Gozo, Malta provides a range of real estate choices to match your investment objectives.

However, making a property investment in this country can be challenging, especially with all the new laws and regulations involved.

We're committed to breaking down everything you need to know in a way that's easy to grasp, making it simpler for you. If you have any lingering questions, please feel free to get in touch with us.

Also, for a more detailed analysis, you can download our property pack for Malta, made by our country expert and reviewed by locals.

How is investing in real estate in Malta?

Is Malta an attractive destination for property investment?

Malta stands out as an attractive destination for property investment for several reasons.

Its appeal is multi-faceted, encompassing aspects like its strategic Mediterranean location, stable political climate, and a robust legal system that safeguards investors' interests.

One of the key aspects that make Malta a prime choice for property investment is its dynamic real estate market. This dynamism is evident in the consistent growth in property prices.

For instance, according to the Central Bank of Malta, there was an approximate 5% increase in property prices in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. This trend highlights the market's resilience and potential for growth, even in challenging economic conditions.

Historically, Malta's real estate market has shown a remarkable ability to withstand global financial upheavals. While it wasn't completely immune to the 2008 global financial crisis, the impact on Malta was less severe compared to other European countries.

This resilience is partly due to Malta's conservative banking practices and the inherent demand for property in a limited geographical area.

When it comes to the types of investment that perform well, residential properties in prime locations such as Sliema, Valletta, and the Three Cities are highly sought after. These areas attract both local and international buyers, driven by the blend of historical charm, modern amenities, and scenic views.

The budget for these investments varies, but properties in these prime areas tend to be at the higher end of the market. Additionally, the rental market is buoyant, especially properties catering to expatriates and tourists, offering a steady income stream for investors.

A unique and positive aspect of properties in Malta is their architectural charm, particularly the traditional Maltese townhouses and palazzos.

These properties often feature distinctive characteristics like limestone walls, wooden balconies, and intricately designed interiors. Investing in such properties not only provides a unique living experience but also offers the potential for appreciation due to their historical and cultural significance.

In terms of safety and stability, Malta is considered a safe bet for property investment. The country's EU membership adds an extra layer of security and stability, ensuring adherence to EU standards and regulations.

Moreover, the Maltese economy has been consistently stable, underpinned by sectors like tourism, gaming, and financial services, which boosts investor confidence.

Regarding language barriers, while knowledge of the local language, Maltese, is not a prerequisite for investment, it can enhance the experience and ease of navigating the local market.

However, English is widely spoken and is an official language, which facilitates communication and transaction processes for international investors.

What are the trends forecasts for the real estate market in Malta?

The current trends in Malta's housing market are shaped by various factors, including economic growth, demographic shifts, and governmental policies.

Malta, known for its robust tourism sector and attractive climate, has historically seen a steady demand in its real estate market, particularly in areas popular with tourists and expatriates.

Currently, the market is experiencing a phase of stabilization after years of rapid growth. Property prices, which had been rising steadily, are now showing signs of leveling off.

This trend is partly due to the increased supply of properties, as many new developments have been completed in recent years. The influx of new properties is giving buyers more options, leading to a more balanced market.

Looking forward, we can anticipate a few possible trends based on the current economic and political landscape.

Firstly, Malta's economy remains relatively strong, with a stable job market and ongoing foreign investment, particularly in sectors like iGaming and financial services. This economic stability is likely to continue supporting the real estate market, as employment and wealth generation are key drivers of property demand.

However, potential challenges could arise from external economic factors. Global economic slowdowns or instability in the Eurozone could impact Malta's economy, potentially leading to reduced demand in the housing market.

On the other hand, Malta's status as a desirable location for retirees and expats could counterbalance these effects, as these groups often bring external wealth and are less influenced by local economic fluctuations.

In terms of political and economic changes, Malta's real estate market could be influenced by adjustments in tax policies or changes in regulations governing property ownership and rental. For instance, any tightening of regulations around rental properties, aimed at controlling rental prices, could impact investor sentiment.

Similarly, changes in tax incentives for property buyers or alterations in stamp duty could influence the market dynamics.

Finally, any upcoming legislation or government policies, particularly those related to the environment and building regulations, could have a significant impact. Stricter environmental regulations could increase construction costs or limit development in certain areas, potentially reducing supply and driving up prices.

Conversely, policies aimed at encouraging sustainable development or providing affordable housing options could increase market accessibility and stabilize prices.

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What types of property can you buy in Malta? What are the prices and yields?

If you need a detailed and updated analysis of the prices, rents and yields, you can get our full guide about real estate investment in Malta.

Investing in property in Malta can be a lucrative opportunity, with several types of properties available, ranging from traditional townhouses in cultural hotspots to modern apartments in bustling cities.

When considering building a property, it's essential to note that Malta, being a small island nation, has limited space, which can make finding a suitable plot challenging and potentially expensive.

However, the development of new residential areas is ongoing, and with the right permits and adherence to local regulations, building is certainly feasible.

The average cost of residential properties in Maltese cities varies widely based on location, size, and amenities. In prime areas like Sliema, St. Julian's, and Valletta, prices can be significantly higher compared to other locations.

As a rough estimate, you might find apartments starting from around €200,000, going up to €1 million or more for luxury properties or those in highly sought-after areas.

The rental market in Malta is robust, with a healthy mix of long-term residents and a growing expatriate community. There's a noticeable trend towards buying to let, particularly in tourist-frequented areas and business hubs.

Rental yields can be attractive, especially in central locations, with annual yields ranging from 4% to 7%, depending on the property type and location.

Tourism plays a vital role in the Maltese property market. The demand for short-term rentals spikes during the tourist season, influencing both rental demand and pricing. Properties in tourist areas or with features appealing to holidaymakers (like sea views or proximity to attractions) can fetch higher rental prices in the peak season.

This demand fluctuates throughout the year, with the summer months being the most profitable.

Regarding reselling property, the Maltese market is generally fluid, with good prospects for selling properties, especially those well-maintained or in prime locations.

However, the time it takes to sell a property can vary, with typical holding periods ranging from a few years to a decade, depending on market conditions and the property itself.

Capital gains prospects also vary. Properties in developing areas or those undergoing regeneration may offer higher potential gains, as opposed to already established, high-value locations where prices are more stable.

An estimated range for capital gains can be anywhere from 3% to 10% annually, but this is highly dependent on market trends, the property's location, and the state of the economy.

Which regions in Malta offer the best investment opportunities?

Foreigners often find Malta an attractive destination for property investment due to its Mediterranean climate, historical appeal, and stable real estate market.

The reasons behind property purchases in Malta by foreigners range from seeking a holiday home, investment opportunities, or even residency through various schemes offered by the Maltese government.

Different types of foreigners are drawn to Malta for various reasons. Europeans, particularly from the UK, Germany, and Scandinavia, are attracted by the climate and lifestyle.

Meanwhile, investors from outside the EU, such as the Middle East and Asia, often view Maltese property as a secure investment and a gateway to Europe, thanks to programs like the Malta Individual Investor Programme (IIP).

Regarding budget-friendly yet promising regions for investment, areas like Mellieha, Qawra, and Bugibba are popular. These locales offer a balance of attractive prices, potential for appreciation, and demand for rentals, especially from tourists and expatriates.

These areas are not as pricey as the central and more urban locations like Sliema and St. Julian’s, but they still provide a good quality of life and amenities.

Trending areas where property values and rental demand are expected to rise include places like Marsascala and the Three Cities – Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua.

These areas are undergoing regeneration, attracting a mix of local and foreign buyers. The blend of historical charm and modern development makes them increasingly popular, hinting at potential price increases and rental demand.

Each area has its pros and cons. Central locations like Sliema and St. Julian's offer urban conveniences, vibrant nightlife, and high rental demand, but they come with higher property prices and a busier, more congested environment.

On the other hand, more remote areas like Gozo offer tranquility and lower prices but may lack some amenities and have a lower rental demand.

For future predictions, it's reasonable to expect that areas undergoing urban development and infrastructural improvements will see an increase in property values.

Places like the Three Cities, currently on the upswing, could become even more sought-after as they blend modern living with cultural heritage. Rental demand is likely to increase in areas with growing expatriate communities and improved connectivity to major hubs.

Regions to be cautious about generally include those with limited growth potential or those facing environmental challenges. Some coastal areas might face issues like overdevelopment or environmental degradation, which could impact their long-term attractiveness and property values.

Here is a summary table to help you visualize better. If you need more detailed data and information, please check our property pack for Malta.

Area Attractions/Characteristics Considerations
Mellieha, Qawra, Bugibba Budget-friendly, potential for appreciation, demand for rentals Less central, but good quality of life
Sliema, St. Julian's Urban conveniences, vibrant nightlife, high rental demand Higher property prices, more congested
Marsascala, Three Cities (Vittoriosa, Senglea, Cospicua) Regeneration, historical charm, modern development Potential for future price increases and rental demand
Gozo Tranquility, lower prices Less amenities, lower rental demand
Coastal Areas Varies by location Potential overdevelopment, environmental issues

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Who can invest in real estate in Malta?

Investing in property as a foreigner in Malta

Investing in housing property in Malta as a foreigner comes with specific rules and regulations that differ from those for local residents.

Firstly, it's important to understand that while foreigners can own property in Malta, there are certain restrictions and requirements that you need to be aware of.

As a foreigner, you generally have the right to purchase property in Malta, but there are limitations on the types of properties you can own and where they are located.

Typically, foreigners are allowed to buy apartments and houses without much hassle, but if you're looking to buy land or a farmhouse, you may face more restrictions. These properties often fall under the category of 'Outside Development Zones' (ODZ), where foreign ownership is more tightly controlled.

The rules can also vary depending on your nationality. If you're a citizen of an EU country, the process is somewhat easier, especially if you've been residing in Malta for more than five years. Non-EU citizens face more restrictions and often require a permit known as an Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) permit to purchase property. This permit is necessary for each property you intend to buy if you're a non-EU citizen.

Living in the country isn't a prerequisite for owning property in Malta. However, if you're planning to stay in Malta for an extended period, you might need a residence permit. As a property owner, obtaining a residence permit might be easier, but owning property alone doesn't automatically grant you residency rights.

Regarding the duration of ownership, there are no time limits for how long a foreigner can own property in Malta. You're allowed to keep the property as long as you wish, and it can be passed on to heirs or sold to another person, regardless of their nationality, without additional restrictions.

For the purchase process, you'll need to provide certain documentation.

A Tax Identification Number (TIN) is essential, and you may need other documents such as a passport, proof of funds, and documents related to the property. If you're a non-EU citizen, the AIP permit is also a crucial document.

There's no mandatory requirement to have a local bank account to purchase property in Malta, but having one can simplify the process, especially for transactions and paying ongoing expenses related to the property.

Payments can often be made in foreign currencies, but it's generally more convenient to handle transactions in Euros, which is Malta's official currency.

In terms of taxes, foreigners are subject to the same basic tax rates as Maltese citizens when it comes to property ownership. This includes stamp duty, annual property taxes, and capital gains tax if you decide to sell the property.

However, there might be specific tax considerations depending on your home country's tax laws, especially regarding international income and asset reporting.

It's crucial to consult with a local real estate agent or a legal expert in Maltese property law to get the most accurate and up-to-date information tailored to your specific situation. They can guide you through the process, ensuring you meet all the legal requirements and understand the financial implications of your property investment in Malta.

Residency and investment in Malta

Malta offers a residency scheme through investment in real estate, commonly known as the Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP).

This programme allows non-EU individuals to gain residency in Malta by making a significant investment in property and contributing to the national development of Malta.

To be eligible, you need to purchase a property in Malta for a minimum value, which varies depending on the location. The minimum investment for purchasing property was set at €300,000 for properties in the south of Malta or on the sister island of Gozo, and €350,000 for properties in other areas.

Alternatively, you can choose to rent a property, with minimum annual rents set at €10,000 in the south of Malta or Gozo, and €12,000 in other areas.

Beyond the property investment, there are other financial commitments you need to be aware of. These include a contribution to the Government of Malta, which is a non-refundable payment, and additional fees for due diligence processes.

You also need to make a mandatory donation to a Maltese registered philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare, or artistic NGO.

To apply, you must engage a licensed agent who will guide you through the application process. This includes conducting due diligence checks, ensuring compliance with all requirements, and submitting the necessary documentation on your behalf.

Once approved, you will be granted a residence permit, which is renewed periodically. Initially, the permit is valid for a period of five years and can be renewed as long as you continue to meet the requirements of the program.

It's important to note that while this programme grants you residency, it does not provide you with an automatic right to work in Malta.

Regarding citizenship, the MPRP does not directly lead to Maltese citizenship.

However, holding residency can be a step towards applying for citizenship after a certain period, usually after residing in Malta for a number of years and meeting other specific criteria set by the Maltese government.

The programme has been popular among non-EU nationals seeking residency in a European Union member state.

The exact number of individuals who have used this scheme changes over time, but it has attracted a significant number of investors due to Malta's strategic location, stable economy, and attractive lifestyle.

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How to get started to invest in real estate in Malta?

What is the step-by-step process to buy property in Malta?

We'll give her a brief overview. However, there is a detailed and dedicated document to the buying process in our property pack for Malta.

Buying a property in Malta, like in many places, involves a series of steps, but there are some unique aspects to be aware of.

Initially, when you find a house you like, the first step is to make an offer. If your offer is accepted, a Preliminary Agreement, known as 'Konvenju' in Maltese, is drawn up. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the sale, including the price, and is legally binding. You'll also pay a deposit, typically 10% of the purchase price, at this stage.

One of the most critical and time-consuming parts of the process is the due diligence carried out by a notary. The notary conducts thorough checks on the property to ensure there are no legal issues, like outstanding debts or planning irregularities. This phase is vital and can be quite intricate, especially if the property has a complex history. It's not necessarily difficult, but it requires careful attention to detail to avoid any future legal problems.

Another unique aspect in Malta is the 'Promise of Sale' agreement. This legally binding contract is signed by both the buyer and seller and includes conditions that must be met before the final deed is signed, such as obtaining a bank loan or the seller completing certain repairs.

The time it takes from finding a house to full ownership can vary, typically ranging from a few months to even longer, depending on various factors like the notary's due diligence and the fulfillment of the conditions in the Promise of Sale. The notary's due diligence is often what takes the most time.

Regarding language, while Maltese is the national language, English is also an official language and widely spoken. Therefore, you don't absolutely need to know Maltese to navigate the process, but having a basic understanding or a local assisting you can be beneficial, especially in understanding legal documents and negotiations.

Cultural norms and practices in Malta are generally welcoming and accommodating to foreigners. However, it's important to be aware of local customs and practices, especially when dealing with property owners and agents. For instance, negotiations might be more informal than in other countries, and there could be an expectation of flexibility and personal interaction.

Being respectful and understanding of these nuances can go a long way in ensuring a smooth property buying experience.

Looking for property in Malta

Please note that there is a list of contacts (real estate agencies, lawyers, notaries, etc.) and websites in our pack of documents related to the real estate market in Malta.

In Malta, the search for a house often begins online.

Housing portals are a popular starting point; websites like and MaltaPark are commonly used. These platforms offer a wide range of listings, allowing you to filter by location, price, property type, and other features. They provide a comprehensive overview of the market and are a convenient way to compare different properties.

Real estate agents also play a significant role in the Maltese property market. Many people opt to work with an agent because they offer valuable local insights and access to properties that might not be listed online.

Agents typically have a portfolio of listings and can recommend properties based on your preferences and budget. It's common for buyers to establish a relationship with a specific agent who then acts as their guide through the property search process.

Social media and local forums can also be fruitful resources. Facebook groups dedicated to real estate in Malta are quite active, where both agents and private sellers post listings. These platforms can provide a more direct line of communication with sellers and can sometimes reveal hidden gems not listed on the larger portals.

Working with a real estate agent is generally recommended, especially if you're unfamiliar with the local market. However, not all agents are created equal. It's important to find someone who is knowledgeable, trustworthy, and understands your needs.

Look for agents who are well-established and have good reviews or testimonials. Red flags to watch out for include agents who are pushy, lack transparency about fees, or seem to have limited knowledge about the properties they're showing.

Buyers can access property listings directly through online portals and social media, but agents often provide a curated list of properties that match specific criteria, which can save time and effort in the search process.

In Malta, the roles and responsibilities of a buyer's agent and a seller's agent can overlap, but typically, a seller's agent works on behalf of the seller to market and sell the property, while a buyer's agent focuses on the buyer's interests, helping them find and negotiate the purchase of a property. It's beneficial to understand this distinction when working with agents.

Real estate agent commissions are not standardized and can vary. It's important to discuss and understand the commission structure before committing to work with an agent. Typically, the seller pays the agent's commission, but this can vary, and it's crucial to clarify who is responsible for the commission in your specific situation.

When negotiating with real estate agents, be clear about your budget and requirements. Don't be afraid to ask questions or for clarifications. Agents are accustomed to negotiation and expect it as part of the process.

A good strategy is to be informed about the market, know the average prices in your desired area, and understand your own needs clearly. This knowledge puts you in a stronger position to negotiate effectively.

Buying property in Malta

Negotiating the price when buying a house in Malta is quite common. The amount of discount you can ask for depends on various factors like the property's condition, how long it has been on the market, and the seller's urgency to sell.

Generally, buyers might negotiate anywhere from 5% to 10% off the asking price, but this can vary. To negotiate effectively, it’s important to have a good understanding of the local real estate market, including the going rates for similar properties in the area.

Conducting due diligence is a crucial step in the property buying process in Malta. This involves ensuring the property you are interested in is legally sound, without any hidden liabilities. A key part of this is conducting a title search, which checks the history of the property to ensure the seller has the right to sell it and that there are no undisclosed encumbrances like mortgages or liens.

In Malta, it's mandatory to engage a notary to handle the legal aspects of the property purchase. The notary plays a crucial role in conducting the title search and ensuring clear title ownership. They will check the property’s history in the Public Registry or the Land Registry (depending on where the property is located), verifying that there are no legal impediments to the sale.

The cost of hiring a notary varies, but it's typically around 1% to 2% of the property’s purchase price, plus additional fees for searches and documentation. It’s always wise to confirm the fees with your chosen notary upfront.

Regarding paperwork, several documents are required throughout the process. Initially, you'll deal with the Preliminary Agreement (Konvenju), which sets out the terms of the sale. This agreement requires details like the property’s price, any conditions of the sale, and the timeframe for completing the purchase. The notary will also request various documents from the seller, such as proof of ownership, planning permits, and a certificate from the Commissioner of Inland Revenue.

Finally, the property ownership is officially transferred and registered through the signing of the Final Deed. This is done in the presence of the notary, who then registers the deed with the Public Registry. The Final Deed signifies the completion of the sale, transferring ownership from the seller to the buyer. The notary will ensure that all necessary taxes and duties are paid during this process.

Throughout these stages, the notary plays a pivotal role, ensuring that all legal requirements are met and that the property is transferred smoothly and legally.

Engaging a reputable notary not only provides peace of mind but is also a legal requirement in Malta.

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Financing a property in Malta

Foreign investors have several options for financing property investments in Malta.

One common method is through bank loans. Foreigners can apply for a mortgage from local Maltese banks, although the terms and eligibility may differ from those offered to Maltese citizens. It's not rare for foreigners to obtain a loan, but the process might involve more scrutiny compared to local buyers.

When it comes to the payment timeline, typically, a deposit is paid when the Preliminary Agreement (Konvenju) is signed. This agreement sets the terms of the sale and includes a completion date for the final deed. The deposit is usually around 10% of the purchase price. The remainder of the price is paid upon signing the Final Deed, which officially transfers ownership.

Interest rates for mortgages in Malta can vary based on factors like the bank, the type of loan, and market conditions. It's advisable to compare rates from different banks to find the best deal.

Regarding the deposit for purchasing property, it's typically around 10% to 30% of the property's total value. This can vary based on the lender's policies and the buyer's financial standing.

Now, let's talk about closing costs and fees. Buying property in Malta involves various expenses. These include notary fees, which are around 1% to 2% of the purchase price, and stamp duty, which is typically 5% of the property value. However, there can be reductions or exemptions in certain cases, like for first-time buyers.

There are also taxes to consider. When buying a house in Malta, the main tax is the stamp duty mentioned earlier. Property tax rates for ongoing ownership can vary. There's no annual property tax like in some other countries, but there are other taxes to consider, like the Final Withholding Tax on rental income, if applicable, which is 15% on the gross rent.

Capital gains tax is another consideration, especially if you plan to sell the property later. In Malta, capital gains tax is charged on the profit made from selling property. The rate can vary, but it's typically 8% of the sale price, though certain conditions can affect this rate.

Additional fees can include administrative charges, bank charges for loan processing, and possibly brokerage fees if you use a real estate agent.

What are the risks and pitfalls when buying property in Malta?

Investing in property in Malta comes with various risks, much like in any real estate market, and it's particularly important for foreign investors to be aware of these. Understanding the common risks and how to navigate them is crucial for a successful investment.

One significant risk involves legal complexities associated with property transactions. While Malta generally offers secure property rights for foreigners, there are pitfalls that can arise, particularly due to unfamiliarity with the local legal processes. For example, it's not uncommon to find properties with unclear or disputed titles, often stemming from inheritance issues where property has been passed down through generations without proper documentation.

To mitigate this risk, conducting thorough due diligence with the help of a reputable notary or lawyer is essential. This ensures that the property you're interested in has a clear title and is free from legal encumbrances.

Another area of concern specific to Malta relates to planning permits. There are instances where properties have been modified or extended without the necessary permits, leading to complications for new owners. Ensuring that any property modifications comply with local regulations and have the appropriate planning permissions is crucial. This step cannot be overlooked as it can lead to legal issues and affect the property's value.

Regarding environmental risks, Malta is generally stable, but like many regions, it faces challenges related to climate change. Rising sea levels and increased temperatures could impact property values, particularly in coastal areas. Understanding these environmental factors and how they might affect your investment in the long term is important.

As for insurance, it plays a crucial role in safeguarding your investment. Standard policies typically cover risks like fire and theft, and liability insurance is advisable to protect against claims from accidents occurring on the property. Consulting with local insurance providers to understand the specific coverage options available in Malta is a wise step.

In terms of legal protections, Malta's legal system offers mechanisms for safeguarding the interests of property buyers, including foreigners. This system provides avenues for dispute resolution, such as litigation and arbitration, should any conflicts arise.

However, it's important to note that legal proceedings can be lengthy and expensive. Therefore, taking preventative measures such as ensuring clear contractual agreements and understanding local laws and regulations is crucial to avoid disputes.

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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. Readers are advised to consult with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions. We do not assume any liability for actions taken based on the information provided.