For many people around the world Malta is still a mysterious and even an exotic place. Rich in history and blessed with amazing weather pretty much all year round, this Mediterranean island has been attracting investors for decades.
But before taking the plunge and buying your place in the sun, here are 3 important things to consider.
What changes are taking place in the near future and how is this affecting the property market?
We all know the 3 most important things when it comes to real estate – location, location and location. Still, when it comes to such a small and dynamic place as Malta, today’s top location may not necessarily be tomorrow’s best choice. A few years ago, the northern part of the island which includes Bugibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay, offered a great return on rental properties and was an excellent option. Due to a strong demand, mostly from economic immigrants from less developed EU countries, property prices in the area have increased a lot, but the quality of living has actually decreased. There are also plans to turn some of the old hotels in the area into care homes, which is hardly going to bring a lot of energy in the local eco system.
On the other hand, places like Smart City have take a different direction. Once the government’s big hope for attracting new and exciting businesses of the future is now partly being turned into a residential area. Yes, it’s a turn of events which only a few may have foreseen but it definitely represents an exciting opportunity.
It’s not all up and down, of course. Popular locations like Sliema and St Julians will always attract young and vibrant crowd. A few new developments for high rise buildings have been proposed and subject to approval by the local community there will be a number of exclusive properties on the market very soon.
A good strategy would be to keep an eye on Malta’s Planning Authority website. Identifying areas where new schools are being build for example may help indicate rising property prices or at least a change in the dynamic of a residential area.
What paperwork is needed for non-residents buying real estate in Malta?
Malta has long been a favorite place to retire, especially for people from the UK, so it comes as no surprise that the local government has taken stops to make the process of purchasing a home for non-residents a straight forward one. In simple terms, if you are from an EU country and have lived in Malta longer than 5 years then no extra paperwork is needed.
If that’s not the case and you are from a country outside the EU currently looking to relocate to Malta you will need a Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) Permit. As in most countries the buyer is the one to pay stamp duties and other fees. In all honestly, the hardest part is to find a good notary, after that it’s all smooth sailing.
Where to find the latest up to date real estate information?
Believe it or not, there are over 150 real estate companies in Malta. Yes, that many for a country with a population of less than half a million. Until recently, the only choices were to check the websites of the top 10-20 agencies and figure out which properties are new on the market. That can be tricky, since it’s a common practice among real estate agents on the island to never ever remove properties from their websites.
Thankfully, in the last year things have changed dramatically thanks to a new website called propertymarket.com.mt. Not only do they provide up to date information and you can clearly see which are the latest properties for sale in Malta & Gozo, but you can also find a very useful property price index which shows you an accurate information about the current cost of real estate on the island based on property type and location.
Overall, Malta is an excellent choice and the booming economy plus ever-growing appetite from abroad make it a fantastic place to retire or invest in real estate.