Real Estate
August 24, 2023
Reading Time: 13 min

Real estate investment in Malta: a practical guide on prices and market features for investors

The Maltese real estate market is strong and has not been harmed much by the pandemic. Property prices are gradually growing with very few downfalls seen. The average property price rise is 10% a year.

There is much demand for rent, so investors can earn a substantial income from that. In 2022, rent rose 7%.

Learn all the details in the guide we completed with the help of an expert with 30 years of work experience in the Maltese real estate market.

Igor Buglo
Igor Buglo

On the features of real estate in Malta

Malta real estate purchasing guide

Real estate investment in Malta: a practical guide on prices and market features for investors

What are the features of the Malta real estate market?

Despite the limited building perimeters in Malta, the construction industry in the country is very strong. Malta being a tiny island of 316 square kilometres is still never finished. The construction keeps on going: you can see cranes everywhere. That proves there is a supply and a high demand.

Sales market. Generally, property in Malta has had a trend of appreciation. The average property price rise is 10% a year.

The market has become healthy after Malta joined the EU in 2004. At those times, there was an amnesty: people could bring their undeclared money into Malta, and much money was repatriated into the country. That created the boom Malta particularly needed and allowed starting of projects like Tigne Point.

About 15—20 years ago, a lovely seafront apartment could be bought for €750,000; today, it costs €2—4 million.

As for the cases of price downfalls, there were very few. They could be explained by correction and the market stabilising itself after periods of hype. So, it’s a question of the market occasionally getting overheated, not property prices going down.

The pandemic played its part but did not affect Malta as severely as some other countries. The sales did not increase in value but did not decrease either. Starting in the second quarter of 2022, the property price index has only been increasing, according to the Central Bank of Malta.

Malta’s real estate prices have also been influenced by the rental market substantially increasing.

Rental market prices jumped 7%. There is a lot of demand for rent on the island. In 2022, the number of people signing rental contracts increased by almost a quarter — up to 48 thousand agreements. Half the new contracts with tenants were concluded for over €800 a month, and the third was over €1,000.

The pandemic affected the rental market because people could not come in and out, but it has already recovered. Actually, it has come back with a bang: prices have now surpassed pre-covid and gone up so much that it has become a question of finding availability, not of showing people around to find what they like. Renting housing for below €1,000—1,200 a month is becoming challenging.

Essentials on real estate in Malta

Complete guide

Essentials on real estate in Malta

Foreign investments in Malta’s real estate are welcomed. In Malta, there are more than 15 Special Designated Areas (SDAa) where foreigners can buy properties without restrictions and legally rent them out. Such properties are suitable for investors in Malta citizenship, permanent residence or temporary residence permit.

Here is the complete list of the Special Designated Areas.

In St Julians:

  • Portomaso Development and Extension 1;

  • Pendergardens;

  • Mercury Towers.

In Sliema:

  • Tigne Point;

  • Fort Cambridge Zone.

In Mellieha:

  • Tas-Sellum Residence;

  • Southridge.

In other places on the island of Malta:

  • Smart City in Kalkara;

  • Ta’ Monita Residence in Marsascala;

  • Quad Business Towers in Mriehel;

  • Madliena Village;

  • Cottonera Development,

On the island of Gozo:

  • Fort Chambray in Ghajnsielem;

  • Kempinski Residences in San Lawrenz;

  • Vista Point in Marsalforn.

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese permanent residence

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese permanent residence

What housing is in demand in Malta?

The decisive factors for both sales and rental markets are:

  • architecture,

  • design and finishes,

  • address,

  • newness of the property.

Malta has a good climate, so people like to stay outside. The newer buildings tend to have larger terraces or open spaces, and living areas are becoming slightly smaller, on the opposite. Bedrooms in new properties are in line with those in other European countries where they have smaller rooms. Apartments of such layouts are in demand.

Modern designs and finishes are something that many people are now looking for. Therefore, developers are competing in this field, which has led to tremendous improvement in finishing and decorations.

People jump on brand-new property. They prefer it if the bed has never been used, as well as the toilet. If a property is old, it will rent, but not as much and not as fast as if it is brand-new and has modern designs and finishes. And a good address always causes the price to go up even higher.

Real estate in Special Designated Area in Malta | Fortress Gardens residential neighbourhood

This is a Fortress Gardens residential complex in Tigne Point SDA in Sliema. Here you can find a 3-bedroom apartment of 188 sqm for €1,600,000. The external area of terraces and balconies is 40 sqm

What are the best investment areas for rentals in Malta?

Five years ago, the situation was like this: if you wanted to rent out a property, you should stick to the North Harbour Area — the towns of Sliema and St Julians. But things have changed.

The demand for rent has grown in many districts. The centre of Malta has boomed in both residential and commercial rentals. The south closer to the airport has also taken a good term. Investors are still a bit sceptical about it because they don’t know its success story but are starting to realise its potential, so prices have started to go up.

If you want the property to rent faster and more expensive, the North Harbour Area probably is the most suitable. If you want good value for money, look out for real estate in the centre of Malta.

Map of most popular Malta’s regions among tenants

The most popular towns among tenants are St Paul’s Bay, with over 7,000 registered rental contracts; Sliema, with over 4,000 contracts; and Msida, with over 3,000.

Other regions with over a thousand active rental contracts are Gzira, San Giljan, Marsaskala, Birkirkara, Swieqi, San Gwann, Mellieha, Mosta, Naxxar, Birzebbuga, and Hamrun.

Sliema, St Julians and Swieqi have shown the highest rental rates. Here most contracts for over €2,000 a month are concluded.

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Igor Buglo
Igor Buglo

Head of the Maltese office, MBA

How much can you earn on real estate in Malta?

The property’s profitability depends on its:

  • type,

  • development,

  • locality,

  • and other factors.

Real estate value grows but at different rates. Considering the last five years, house prices went up by 30% on average, according to Eurostat. Still, there were cases where the prices doubled during this time.

As for the rentals, it shows a similar picture. The rental prices have increased substantially, especially on smaller properties like one- and two-bedroom apartments, but on larger ones like villas and penthouses, too.

Apartments that were rented out for €600 a month about 5 years ago are rented out for €1,000 a month today. So, within half a decade, rent has nearly multiplied by two.

If a villa was rented for €10,000 a month five years ago, it must have been a one-off. And today, it’s a common situation on the market for good modern villas with all the amenities.

Selection of prominent projects for investors

Map of real estate projects in Malta for foreign investors

Most notable investment project are concentrated on one coast of Malta

Fortress Gardens is a residential complex in Tigne Point, Malta’s most exclusive neighbourhood. Tigne Point borders Sliema and is a 10-minute drive from St Julians and a short ferry ride from Valletta, the capital of Malta.

In the centre of Tigne Point is Pjazza Tigné, a hub of exclusive shops, cafés and restaurants. Nearby is the Centre, a high-end office block, and the Point Shopping Mall. Around these facilities are several premium residential complexes, the Fortress Gardens being the last Tower of Tigne Point. Close to the southern shoreline, there is the open-air residents’ swimming pool.

The residential complex has central heating and enhanced thermal and acoustic insulation between floors. Apartments have seamless ceilings housing concealed air-conditioning, and bathrooms are equipped with underfloor heating. Most condos are with balconies.

A one-bedroom seafront apartment of 87 sqm can be bought for €675,000 to €725,000, while three-bedroom apartments of 188 sqm are on sale for €1,550,000 to €1,700,000. The higher the floor, the more expensive the condo. The prices are expected to grow at 5—10% a year.

Three-bedroom apartments rent can reach €7,500 a month. Many condos are rented for €2—4 thousand per month.

Malta real estate investments | Sliema | Tigne Point

Aerial view of The Tigne Point complex in Sliema

The Shoreline project is located in SmartCity, right on the water’s edge. SmartCity is an SDA close to the town of Kalkara, 1.5 km south of Malta’s capital city of Valletta. The neighbourhood is 10 minutes away from Malta International Airport.

The project includes the shopping mall, which is to open in August and become the largest in Malta. And apartments will start handing over by the end of 2023.

Apartment price range:

  • €280,000 to €560,000 for one bedroom;

  • €495,000 to €850,000 for two bedrooms;

  • €990,000 to €1,900,000 for three bedrooms.

Investments in Malta real estate | Kalkara

The Shoreline will be offering a communal pool and garden area overlooking the Mediterranean Sea

Portomaso SDA is located in St Julians. Portomaso includes a 23-storey Business Tower and the Laguna Project — luxury apartments with direct access to a private yacht marina.

Among the amenities, Portomaso has a spacious underground car park, private swimming pool and gardens, restaurants, spa, fitness centre, shopping complex, supermarket, casino, and conference centre. On the 22nd floor of the Portomaso Tower is “Club 22”, one of Malta’s most fashionable nightspots.

A one-bedroom apartment of 80 sqm can be purchased for €650,000. A three-bedroom apartment of 220 sqm can be bought for €1,800,000 with a car space included in the price.

The rent for two- and three-bedroom apartments can reach €7,000 a month.

Malta property investments | St Julians | Portomaso Tower

Aerial view of the Marina Bay and Portomaso Tower in St. Julians city

The Mercury Towers is another SDA project in St Julians. The neighbourhood is an 11-minute drive from the airport.

The project is a twisting twin tower enjoying sea views. It includes a boutique hotel flanked by two towers of 40 and 25 stories, housing commercial and residential units, and five levels of underground parking. The residential complex has a gym, spa, pools, radio bar, restaurants and a mall.

The project is suitable for short-term investment. Most apartments are sold out, but some units have come back on the market as a ‘resale’. A two-bedroom apartment of 112 sqm on the 30th floor is on sale for €1,800,000.

Entertainment, shopping, and dining facilities are going to open in September 2023. Moving into apartments is planned for the first quarter of 2024.

Real estate for Malta citizenship for investors | St Julians | The Mercury Towers

The Mercury Towers is an iconic development set to establish Malta’s place in the global design and architectural sphere

In Qawra, a zone within St. Paul’s Bay in the Northern Region of Malta, you can invest low-end. These apartments are great for short-term lets as well as for long-term lets as affordable housing. Purchase prices for 2-bedroom apartments of 90 sqm start at €245,000.

Jerma, a hotel project in Marsascala, isn’t officially launched but is already a success: the developers have sold substantial numbers of apartments without putting them on the market. This project will be on the former Jerma Palace Hotel site, which shuttered over 15 years ago.

The project will include two hotels with a total of 140 rooms and 259 serviced apartments, a separate block of 155 apartments as well as seven retail outlets and six restaurants. Jerma will also include an open space, providing a direct link to the sea.

Villas around Malta can be bought starting at €1—1.5 million. However, Malta’s market does not have enough completed villas. Most of them are sold at the planning stage.

As an example, we can present a semi-detached villa in Madliena for €2,750,000. The villa is finished to the highest standards, including marble flooring and Italian furniture.

The property has an entrance hall, fitted kitchen and breakfast area, a study, living room, and dining room, which leads to a spacious patio. There are three bedrooms with en-suite showers, a guest bathroom, a two-car garage, solar panels, and a lift from the basement to the top floor.

Malta real estate investment | Villa in Madliena

Complementing this villa is a large swimming pool and deck area ideal for entertaining

How to buy property in Malta: a step-by-step procedure

The property purchase process in Malta takes about 4 months.

1

Choose a property you want to buy

Our real estate experts will help you research and identify the property that suits your needs and budget. We can meet you in Malta and show you around various locations as well as send photos and videos.

2

Sign a preliminary agreement

Once you have selected a property, you and the seller will sign a preliminary agreement, known as a "konvenju" or promise of sale. This agreement is binding on both parties and sets the sale price and conditions.

3

Pay a deposit

After signing the preliminary agreement, you must typically pay a deposit, usually 10% of the property’s price. The money is held by the notary until the final deed is signed.

At this stage, our lawyers will also conduct research to ensure the property has no outstanding debts and that the seller is the legitimate owner.

4

Obtain an Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) Permit, if necessary

If you are a non-EU citizen or a non-resident of Malta, you will need to apply for an AIP permit from the Ministry of Finance to buy property outside SDAs.

5

Sign a final deed of sale

You and the seller sign the final deed of sale before a notary. This step formally transfers ownership of the property to the buyer.

6

Pay for the property and fees

At this point, you pay the balance of the purchase price, the notary fees, and the stamp duty. Stamp duty is a government tax on property transactions, usually 5% of the purchase price.

The Immigrant Invest lawyer will file a deed of sale with the Public Registry, effectively registering you as the property’s new owner.

How much to invest in Maltese property to obtain citizenship or residency?

Investors can get one of the three statuses in Malta: a temporary residence permit, a permanent residence permit or citizenship. All three require applicants to have a residential address in Malta, so they must rent or buy property there.

The requirements for property differ, depending on the status. To apply for citizenship, you will need to spend the biggest amount of money on real estate.

Malta Global Residence Program offers to obtain a year-long residence permit. To do that, you can rent housing for €8,750 a year in the south of Malta or Gozo or for €9,600 a year in the north or centre of the country.

If you go for buying, the property purchased in the south of Malta or Gozo must cost at least €220,000 and €275,000 in the north or centre of the country.

Other expenses under the program comprise the following: administration fee of at least €5,500, minimum income tax of €15,000 a year, medical insurance, and notary fees.

Malta residence permit holders benefit from visa-free travel to Schengen countries and a special tax regime. Income earned abroad and transferred to Malta is charged at a flat rate of 15%.

Malta Permanent Residence Program offers to obtain a lifelong status. To do that, you can rent housing for €10,000 per annum in the south of Malta or Gozo or €12,000 annually in the north or centre of the country.

Those who opt for purchase must spend at least €300,000 on residential property in the south of Malta or Gozo or €350,000 in the north or centre of the country.

Other conditions of the investor program:

  1. Pay the administration fee of €40,000.

  2. Pay the contribution fee of €28,000 if buying real estate or €58,000 if renting.

  3. Donate €2,000 to charity.

  4. Prove ownership of €500,000 assets, of which €150,000 is liquid financial assets.

Investors can include spouses, children, parents, and grandparents in the application, regardless of their age.

Malta citizenship can be obtained by naturalisation — for exceptional services by direct investment. To do that, you can rent housing for €16,000 per year or buy it for at least €700,000.

Besides finding a property, investors contribute at least €600,000 to the state fund and donate €10,000 to charity. But the most essential requirement is to pass the Eligibility Test.

Maltese passport holders can travel to over 180 countries without visas, including the EU, the UK, and the USA.

Property investment minimums to apply for Malta citizenship or residency

Status

In the north or centre of Malta

In the south of Malta or Gozo

Temporary residence permit

€275,000

€220,000

Permanent residency

€350,000

€300,000

Citizenship

€700,000

€700,000

Localities that are considered to be in the south of Malta and where the lowered investment threshold applies are the following:

  1. Birżebbuġa

  2. Cospicua

  3. Fgura

  4. Għaxaq

  5. Gudja

  6. Kalkara

  7. Kirkop

  8. Luqa

  9. Marsascala

  10. Marsaxlokk

  11. Mqabba

  12. Paola

  13. Qrendi

  14. Safi

  15. Santa Luċija

  16. Senglea

  17. Siġġiewi

  18. Tarxien

  19. Vittoriosa

  20. Xgħajra

  21. Żabbar

  22. Żejtun

  23. Żurrieq

Purchasing a property in Malta can be a profitable investment, but the buying process can extend obtaining residency for about 4 months. To avoid an increase in terms, you can get a Malta residence permit under the rent option and then switch to the ownership option — it’s allowed. If you stick to the rent option, you will need to lease housing according to the conditions described above for five years.

After five years of ownership or rent, price conditions are removed. You get the right to sell the property if you purchased one.

To maintain your Maltese residency, it remains necessary to have a place to live in Malta. However, you have the flexibility to either rent or purchase a property at any price.

Our partners can assist in managing your property and exiting the investment. Management services can include renting a property out on short- or long-term let, collecting the post, doing the maintenance, and others by agreement. We can also refer you to trusted accountants, tax consultants and legal people if you have such an issue to be solved.

If you want to come to Malta, we are there to help and consult on education, schooling, chartering a yacht, and relocation in general.

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

What additional costs do property owners bear?

When a person buys a property, there is a stamp duty of 5% of the purchase price. If the property is going to be the first and only residence, the buyer can be exempt from the tax for the first €200,000 and pay 5% on the balance.

The average legal fees for buying a property are 1,5%. The amount depends on the searches the notary has to conduct.

In total, the associated costs are 6,5% of the purchase price.

When a person owns a property in an SDA, there is usually a maintenance cost. This is not typically very high, ranging from €300 to €600 annually. If a residential complex has facilities like pools and gardens, maintenance can go up to €3,000 a year, depending on the property size.

Generally, these rates are considered relatively low because these are the only expenses. Malta does not have council taxes or ongoing taxes like the garbage tax people usually pay in other countries.

When a person rents out a property, they pay income tax at 15%. Another 5—15% of the profit may be charged for the management of rentals.

When a person sells the property, the tax is calculated on the selling price, not the profit.

If the property was a primary home for at least 3 years, there is 0% tax. If the property was a secondary home and is sold within the first 5 years after the purchase, the rate is generally 5% of the selling price. If such a property was owned for over 5 years, the rate is 8%.

When a person inherits the property, there are various options. If the inherited real estate was a family home, no duties usually apply. If it were a secondary home, the tax would be calculated.

On final note

The Maltese real estate market is customised to what you want. There isn’t one particular project, which is going to fit everybody’s shoes, but we can help you find real estate that suits you most.

Some projects, like Tigne Point, are designed for high-net-worth clients. But not everybody wants to spend €1.3 million on an apartment. Some people like to spend half or even a quarter of that, and it’s not impossible. Even in the Northern Harbour Area of Malta, the most popular district for purchase and rent, you can find both low-end and high-end projects to invest in.

If buying certain properties, you’ll get the opportunity to apply for Malta citizenship or residency.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Will you obtain Maltese citizenship?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain Maltese citizenship?

Frequently asked questions

  • Is buying property in Malta a good investment?

    Most real estate in Malta available to foreigners is profitable. The property’s profitability depends on its type, development, locality, and other factors. The average property price rise is 10% a year. There is also much demand for rent, so rental income can be pretty substantial.

    If buying certain properties, you’ll get the opportunity to apply for Malta citizenship or residency.

  • Can a foreigner buy a house in Malta?

    Yes, foreigners can buy property in Malta. In Specially Designated Areas (SDAs), they can make purchases without applying for permission. There is no limit on the number of properties in ownership. And such properties can also be legally rented out.

    To buy a property outside an SDA, a non-EU citizen will have to obtain a permit.

  • Is it a good time to buy property in Malta?

    Yes, the Maltese property sales market is healthy. It has recovered after the pandemic, and the prices are gradually increasing. There is also a lot of demand for rent. So, by purchasing a property in Malta, you can invest not only in capital growth but also in rentals.

  • How easy is it to buy a property in Malta?

    For foreigners, it’s easier to buy properties in Specially Designated Areas of Malta. You don’t have to receive permits authorising the deal in such cases. The process will take around 4 months.

  • Are property prices falling in Malta?

    No, there have been very few price downfalls. Most occurred due to the price correction and the market stabilising itself after periods of hype. So, it’s usually a question of the property market occasionally getting overheated, not property prices going down.

  • Do you pay property tax in Malta?

    No, you do not pay any taxes for property ownership in Malta. Yet, you should pay stamp duties upon buying and selling real estate and income tax on the rental income.

  • How much does it cost to buy a house in Malta?

    To buy a house in Malta, like a villa or bungalow, you will need to spend at least €1—1.5 million. The same amount of money you will need to get a seafront apartment. But on flats in the island’s interior, you can spend half or even a quarter of €1 million.

  • Can you buy a property in Malta after Brexit?

    Yes, you can buy property in Malta after Brexit. Brexit primarily affected the relationship between the UK and the EU, but it did not change the fundamental rights of UK citizens to buy property in EU countries like Malta.

  • Can non-EU citizens buy property in Malta?

    Yes, non-EU citizens can buy property in Malta. However, there are certain restrictions and requirements in place for non-EU citizens, such as obtaining an Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) permit for properties outside of Special Designated Areas.

  • Can I get residency in Malta if I buy a house?

    Yes, buying a property can be one of the routes to obtaining residency in Malta. There are specific residency programs which offer residency rights to individuals purchasing property, but there are conditions and minimum investment amounts to be met.