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Deciding to leave friends and family behind to seek pastures new can be a daunting experience, but a growing number of Brits are doing just that. Malta has plenty to offer the disillusioned Brit, including a vibrant expat network and a very affordable and buoyant property market.
You may have been renting in Malta for a few years or enjoy yearly trips to this idyllic island and so want to purchase a holiday home or a permanent residence. Whatever your circumstances, when it comes to buying property a little advice can go a long way and as we've been helping people settle here since 1967, we like to think that we have more than a little advice to give!
Malta is an ideal location to live in and this is the place where many Brits choose to retire. Many more are choosing to buy holiday homes here that they can use themselves and rent out to holiday makers as Malta is an all year round holiday destination. While others are discovering the investment opportunities on the island, particularly within the gambling industry which is experiencing a bit of a boom. This all helps to make Malta the perfect destination for expats.
The House Buying Process in Malta
Buying a property in Malta is going to be quite different from any house buying experience you might have had in the UK, so let's run through some of the key differences.
Many properties are listed with several estate agents so be aware of this when viewing as you don't really want to view the same property several times.
The agency is more than happy to not only accompany you to viewings but to drive you there as well, which allows you to sit back and enjoy a brief tour of the island and gain a good insight into the property hotspots.
Once you have decided on a property and your offer has been accepted, you are asked to sign a Konvenju (Promise of Sale) which is a legally binding agreement between you and the seller. At this point you are obliged to pay 1% of the 5% provisional stamp duty. The total sum is payable upon completion of the sale. You will also need to pay a deposit which is usually around 10% of the agreed sale price.
You don't need a permit to buy a house here unless it's a secondary residence (see the section on holiday homes) but if you are not a member of an EU country then you will need an AIP.
You will need to appoint a Notary Public who handles all the legal paperwork for you including any permits you may need, title searches, etc.
In order to prevent locals from being priced out of the housing market, the Maltese introduced some restrictions for foreign buyers looking to purchase a second home. These restrictions mean that you have to pay over a certain amount before you can get onto the property ladder. Currently this is around €110,469 for an apartment and €184,064 for a house or villa. The exceptions to this are renovations, so long as the amount you spend on purchasing and renovating the property match or exceed the minimum amount.
Buying a Holiday Home in Malta
Purchasing a holiday home is a desirable option for many regular holiday makers to the Mediterranean island of Malta. Not only can it be used as a home from home for whenever you visit the island but, you can also rent it out to other holiday makers and so generate some income as well.
A quick word of warning though, if you already own a property in Malta you must either have been resident in Malta for 5 years or you must acquire a permit, known as an Acquisition of Immovable Property form, from the relevant government department before buying a second home here. Non EU residents must obtain an AIP permit in any case.
You must also obtain a permit if you are considering renting your property as a holiday home and any earnings must be declared to the authorities for tax purposes.
Where to buy in Malta
When searching for that perfect spot you need to consider your circumstances. Do you have children who will need to be relatively close to good schools? Do you own a car or, will you be reliant on public transport? Will you be pursuing a busy social life and looking for other expats to meet or, do you need a place of relaxation where you can fit in with the locals?
Malta may only be a tiny island (smaller than the Isle of Wight), but it is incredibly diverse and one side of the island may be completely different from the other.
The most popular areas to buy are around Sliema and St Julian's. They afford wonderful sea views, are close to all essential amenities, benefit from great public transport and offer plenty of good schools to boot. Here apartments and townhouses are common but it is also possible to get villas and maisonettes. The properties may be at the pricier end of the market, but a good estate agent can direct you towards some fantastic deals.
Valletta is a bustling city by day but can be deadly quiet by night. However, there are some good schools in the area, public transport is excellent and it's handy for business opportunities.
Moving away from the resorts you can find a scattering of little fishing villages where you could easily find a renovation project or luxury villa which is half the price of a trendy apartment in St Julian's. The pace of life here is slower but can be ideal for retirees. Check out the picturesque islands of Gozo and Comino too which are perfect for nature lovers.
Need to Know Tips When Buying in Malta
Malta may enjoy Mediterranean weather but that doesn't mean the weather is perfect all the time. It gets cold, it rains and it can hail, so take this into consideration when viewing properties and ask if they are suitable for the winter.
Humidity is an issue in many properties because of the limestone building material so be aware of this and look out for any telltale signs. Budget for around 8% on top of the asking price to cover taxes and fees. Fitted kitchens are not always included.
Now you know the facts why not satisfy your curiosity and have a peek at some of the hottest properties for sale in Malta right now? If you want to live the dream then Malta is definitely where it's at!