How to buy a property in Malta safely and avoid the pitfalls: understanding the process and doing your due diligence.
Buying a property in Malta can be daunting for expats. You don’t know the rules, how it’s done, what’s acceptable and what to expect. This guide will help you to understand the process and how to protect yourself when buying a property in Malta.
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Malta’s property market
Malta’s property market is quite dynamic and offers a good choice of property for both rent and purchase. There is a wide range of different properties on offer, from old Maltese houses to modern apartments and high-spec, stunning villas.
Malta’s property market has been quite balanced and steady due to the active interest of foreign buyers, with prices falling a little during the downturn but not significantly crashing.
What properties are available in Malta and where to look for them
There’s a great range of sophisticated new-build apartments, historic houses, converted palazzos, terraced houses, villas and maisonettes to choose from.
Being a short distance from Italy, some historic central villages, with their elegant townhouses and ancient traditional homes, remind ones of Sicily only more affluent, so the prices are considerably higher in Malta than Sicily.
It can also offer centuries-old properties, tucked away in sleepy farming villages as well as a number of new projects, such as the Fort Chambray renovation, which perfectly blends the island’s amazing scenery with the convenience of modern, highly specced apartments, overlooking the harbour at Mgarr.
Buying a property in Malta’s Special Designated Areas
Villas are quite expensive in Malta due to the lack of land, but if you buy one, you get a lot for your money – usually, the plot of land that comes with a villa is pretty big and the house is usually quite spacious. There’s occasionally an opportunity to buy a villa built in the seventies and refurbish it. It will save you some money, but such villas are now rarely on the market. If you wish to live in a traditional Maltese house, you need to look away from the hub to the south and southeast. Traditional properties with character cost more to purchase due to their exclusivity, but you should also keep in mind all the extra expenses that come with an old property.
Old houses in Malta can be up to 400 years old, with surprisingly thick stone walls and a little central courtyard. They can usually be found straight off the narrow streets of old towns and villages, so don’t have much outdoor space, but if tastefully renovated they can be lovely homes full of charm and character.
The property purchasing process & fees
Buying a property in Malta for foreign citizens requires obtaining an AIP (Acquisition of Immovable Property) permit.
An AIP is not needed if a property that you wish to buy is in a Special Designated Area (SDAs) or is to serve as your primary residence.
However, after having been resident in Malta for at least five continuous years you will be allowed to purchase any number of properties without restrictions.
When you have decided on the property you wish to purchase, the next steps are quite simple, making buying property in Malta a reasonably straightforward process.