Living abroad

Cost of living in Malta: housing, salaries, groceries, transport, and education

The cost of living on Malta island is lower than in Austria and other West European countries. Our clients we helped move to Malta share their experience of living there.

Cost of living in Malta with prices

General price level

Malta has an average European level of prices on goods and services. However, living in Malta is cheaper compared to Central and North European countries. 

For example, a square metre of an apartment in a city in Sweden costs €6,301, while in Malta, a square metre is around €3,475. For basic utilities, German residents pay about €245, and Maltese residents pay €90.

The cost of living in Malta is not high, especially compared to Central Europe. Our friends who have residence permits in Austria visit us and get surprised at how cheap Malta is. 

It is easy to adapt to living in Malta as it is enough to know English. With it, you don’t feel isolated.

Vazgen V.
Obtained Malta citizenship with their family,
an Immigrant Invest client

Prices on renting a property in Malta

Whichever status you choose for living in Malta — a residence permit, permanent residence or citizenship — one must rent or buy property according to the conditions of the programs and the citizenship law. 

Renting a property is one of the possible options for getting citizenship in Malta. Depending on the status that you are interested in, you need to rent a property for a certain sum of money: 

  • to obtain a residence permit, one needs to rent a property for €9,000+ per year or €8,750+ per year if a property is located in the South of Malta or on Gozo island;
  • for permanent residence, it is enough to rent a property that costs €12,000+ per year or €10,000+ per year if a property is located in the South of Malta or on Gozo island;
  • to qualify for citizenship, one needs to rent a property for €16,000+ per year for at least five years.  

The most expensive renting is in touristic centres, for example, in Sliema and St Julian’s. A small one-room apartment costs €500—600 per month, and the price for more comfortable apartments starts at €1,000 per month.

I recommend moving a bit further from the city centre and renting an apartment or a house there. Malta is a small island, and everything is close to each other. You can get anywhere in 15 minutes. Therefore, you won’t miss anything and will be able to rent housing profitably. 

For €900 a month, you can rent great spacious apartments with 3 bedrooms. The utility bills will be €80—€150.

Andrew S.
Opened a real estate agency in Malta,
an Immigrant Invest client

Prices on buying property in Malta

Another property investment option is buying real estate. The price per square metre of an apartment in the city centre of Malta is around €3,475. Outside the city centre, one might expect to pay €1,120.

The cost of the qualified property depends on the status one wants to obtain:

  1. To participate in the residence permit program, an investor needs to buy a property that costs €275,000+ or €220,000+ if purchased in the South of Malta.
  2. To get permanent residence, one needs to buy a property of € 350,000+ or €300,000+ if purchased in the South of Malta.
  3. The price of a property that qualifies for Malta citizenship starts at €700,000. Besides the housing itself, an investor needs to contribute to the NDSF, donate, and pay administrative, state, and Eligibility Test fees.

The period of owning the property is 5 years. After that, the investor can sell it and get a money return. 

Examples of properties in Malta suitable for purchase

Apartments in Sliema, Malta

Apartments in a new residential high-rise project near the sea. Each apartment has 2—3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and underground parking

Apartment in St Julian’s, Malta

A turnkey apartment with a pool and sea view. The apartment has 2 floors, 6 rooms and a garage 

Prices on groceries in Malta

Expenses on groceries in Malta depend on where to buy goods. In ordinary supermarkets, prices are not very different from prices in other European countries.

Other shops in Malta, like food kiosks, are oriented toward tourists. Prices there are high. In ordinary supermarkets, products can cost 1.5—3 times cheaper. 

Average cost of basic products

Product Price
Milk, 1 litre€1.01
Drinking water — 1,5 litre€0.93
12 eggs package€2.50 
Loaf of bread — 500 g€1.15
Local cheese — 1 kg€8.93
Chicken fillets — 1 kg€7.57
Beef round — 1 kg€14.32
Rice — 1 kg€2.34
Apples — 1 kg€2.61
Bananas — 1 kg€1.85
Oranges — 1 kg€2.49
Potatoes — 1 kg€1.87
Tomatoes — 1 kg€2.65
Onions — 1 kg€2.06

Lunch or dinner in a cafe usually costs around €10—15. The average bill depends on a cafe or restaurant, and Malta has a wide variety of those. For example, the Michelin Guide Malta gives information on 26 restaurants. Three of them have Michelin stars.

Locals buy groceries in big supermarket chains such as Lidl or Carrefour. They have reasonable prices and quality products. Farmers sell their products in the food kiosks. I don’t recommend buying food there as everything is way more expensive and the quality is not very different from the products in supermarkets.

Mary D.
Obtained Malta permanent residency,
an Immigrant Invest client

Expenses on transportation

Malta’s transportation expenses are not high as the country consists of just a few islands. The biggest island is 27 km long and 15 km wide. 

Maltese citizens use buses, ferries and taxis. 

€2
Price for 1 km by taxi
in Malta

Buying a personal car in Malta is easier than moving it from another country. Moreover, car rentals are popular in the country. Rental of low-cost cars starts at €30 per day; for business-class vehicles, you will pay €50—80. 

The price of petrol is €1.3 per litre. The standard tariff for a taxi in Malta is €2 per kilometre.

Cost of living in Malta: registration of a yacht
Malta is the safest natural haven in the Mediterranean, with high-end marinas and famous regattas. Registration of a yacht in Malta is charged with VAT of 5.04 to 90%

Cost of education in Malta

Prices of kindergartens and schools in Malta depend on the level of educational institutions.

In general, kindergartens cost €330—360 per month. Studying in an international school in English will cost €7,000 per year. Studying in public schools is free. 

Studying at state universities is free for Maltese and EU citizens. The tuition fee for third-country nationals depends on the chosen university and study field. For example, getting a bachelor’s degree in law at the University of Malta costs €8,500 per academic year and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering costs €10,800 for the same period.

Expenses on healthcare

Maltese citizens and residents own a European Health Insurance Card and have free access to public doctors and hospitals. 

Those who choose private healthcare can expect to pay around €20 for an appointment with a general practitioner and about €50—60 for a specialist. 

Health insurance costs start at around €25 for a basic plan. The price for a more advanced plan might be up to €200. 

Salaries and profits from the business

According to the Eurostat data, the monthly average income in Malta is lower than the average income in the European Union. According to the data from 2018, it is €1,939 per month, while the average income in the EU is €2,319.

However, other things attract investors, namely business opportunities. The most promising and lucrative companies in Malta work in the following fields:

  • tourism — car and property rentals, organisation of excursions, hotel business;
  • beauty and health — beauty salons, fitness clubs, massage salons;
  • medical services — Maltese resorts are popular among Europeans who come to undergo health improvement courses;
  • education — Malta has many private schools and branches of international and European universities; people also come to Malta to learn English;
  • high technologies — owners of IT companies often choose Malta for living because of tax breaks and opportunities to quickly find clients and business partners.

You can create a high-demand business or get a job in a successful company. Then your income will be higher than the average income in Europe.

There are many business opportunities: people from all over Europe come to Malta for holidays and medical treatment, and tax rates there are lower than in other EU countries. Therefore it is not a problem to achieve a constant income and a comfortable level of life in Malta. 

For example, lawyers and economists working in big enterprises have good salaries. However, one needs to have a diploma from a European university.

Helen A.
Obtained Malta citizenship in 2016, an Immigrant Invest client

How much does it cost to live in Malta

The cost of living in Malta is higher than in the East European countries and lower than in the Central and North European states. 

The most significant expense is the rent of housing. The cost of it might reach €1,500 per month. If you own housing, €2,700 per month will be enough for a family of four. 

Cost of 1 month of living in Malta

Basic expensesSum for a month
Renting housing€900—1,500
Utility bills€80—100
Private kindergarten€330—360
Groceries€750
Private health insurance€50—200

Cost of living per month in Malta compared to the US

In general, living in Malta is cheaper than in the United States. One of the most expensive things is rent, which is almost 2 times higher in the United States. 

Another point is healthcare: while American citizens need to pay a decent sum to get treatment in the US, Maltese citizens benefit from free public healthcare and health insurance. 

Comparison of expenses in Malta and the USA

Expense itemMaltaUnited States
Rent of a 3-bedroom apartment in the city centre€1,461$2,799
Utility bills€80—100$170—180
Groceries€750$1,020
Cost of education per year €375 for a preschool $1,136 for a preschool
€7,754 for an international school $16,144 for an international school
Free for Maltese and EU citizens;

€4,000—15,000 for non-EU and non-Malta citizens
$10,000—40,000 for US citizens;

$20,000—40,000 for out-of-state students
Health insurance per monthFree$400
Fitness club per month€60$38

Other benefits of living in Malta

Climate. Maltese summers are warm, and the average temperature during this period is +25—27°C. Winters are mild, and the temperature rarely goes below 0°C. Malta has around 3,000 sunny hours a year, which makes the country one of the sunniest places in Europe. 

Safety. The crime rate in Malta is low. In 2020, Insurly, a French travel insurance company, rated most countries in the world on several criteria: frequency of natural disasters, quality of medicine, risk of terrorism, number of crimes, and number of road accidents. Malta ended up in 18th place, just after Germany and New Zealand. 

Low taxes. Malta offers attractive tax rates. For example, VAT in Malta is lower than in most EU countries and is 18%, while it is around 23% in EU countries. The income tax rate depends on the salary of the taxpayer. For example, a married person doesn't need to pay income tax if they earn less than €10,500. 

There are also no taxes on gifts, inheritance and, in some cases, on property. 

Multilingual community. Many people from different regions move to Malta, so there is also a possibility to find locals from a certain country. Moreover, English is an official language in Malta, and almost everyone speaks it. 

Frequently asked questions

Is it expensive to live in Malta?

Living in Malta is relatively cheap. It is more expensive than in East European countries; however, it is more affordable than in West and North European countries such as Sweden, Germany, and Denmark.

How much do you need to earn to live in Malta?

To cover all the expenses except renting, the family of four will need at least €2,700. It is an average salary in the country. 

Is it better to rent or buy property in Malta?

It depends on your own preferences. If you’re not planning to live in Malta, it might be a good idea to buy a property and then rent it out to someone else. This can also be beneficial because you can sell the property 5 years after receiving citizenship and get the money back. 

Another option is renting a property. To qualify for a residence permit, one needs to rent housing that costs at least €12,000 per year. If an investor is interested in citizenship, they need to rent a property that costs €16,000+ per year. 

How much tax do you pay in Malta?

The main tax is an income tax, and it depends on the amount of your wages in Malta. The maximum tax rate is 35%. There is also VAT, but it is one of the lowest in Europe — only 18%. 

You don’t need to pay taxes on gifts and inheritance; you only pay the property tax if you decide to sell it.

How much is the monthly rent in Malta?

To get Malta citizenship, one must rent housing that costs at least €16,000 per year. The investor needs to own it for 5 years. 

Is it cheaper to live in Malta than in the UK?

Costs for living in Malta and the UK are similar. In both countries, one will need around €2,700 per month without rent to take care of a family of four and maintain an average level of life. 

However, the cost of renting or buying a property is higher in the UK than in Malta. To rent a 3-bedroom apartment in the city centre in the United Kingdom, one needs to pay €1,850; to rent the same size apartment in Malta, one will need €1,460.

Is it cheaper to live in Malta than in the US?

It is cheaper to live in Malta than in the United States. A family of four in the US would need around $3,500 per month without rent, while in Malta, €2,700 is enough. 

Is food expensive in Malta?

No, in general, the cost of food is not high in Malta if you buy it in a regular supermarket. It is cheaper than in West and North European countries. However, if you decide to buy from the local kiosks oriented toward tourists, you will pay 2—3 times more.

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Cost of living in Malta: housing, salaries, groceries, transport, and education