When looking to move to Malta, there are a number of factors that residents usually assess. Friendly locals, World Heritage protected sites, low crime rate, state of the art health care, a warm climate, strategic location and authentic Mediterranean food are but a few of the lifestyle advantages.
However, Malta has many more benefits that are sometimes overlooked. Malta’s stable economy and its investment opportunities, its relocation programmes, and its real estate market are a few of such other advantages that should also be assessed.
Being an EU member state, whilst still strategically located on the crossroads between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, Malta has become a noticeable hub for international investment. With a global outreach at its fingertips and with direct international flights to Europe and North Africa, Malta has managed to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) at €169.8 billion as at the end of 2017.
This statistic was heavily fuelled by Malta’s strategic plan to expand industries such as tourism, iGaming, ICT and fintech. Due to a specialised legal regime set up in the last quarter of 2018, Malta has now added blockchain and crypto currencies to its menu of offerings and a large pool of finance investors are eyeing the island as their port of call in terms of fintech set ups.
Malta Residency & Citizenship Programmes
Malta provides affluent individuals of impeccable reputation and standing the opportunity to obtain residence or citizenship through specialised programmes on the basis of an investment into the Maltese economy. Such programmes provide various benefits such as visa-free travel within the Schengen Area and the right to reside, settle and stay indefinitely in Malta.
Such increase in FDI as well as investment through the above programmes, has inevitably resulted in an increase in real estate deals in Malta. With limited supply and growing demand, Malta’s property market has been in constant boom for more than thirty years. This has resulted in more real estate investment by both locals and foreigners that relocate here for commercial, work, family or retirement reasons.
According to global consultancy agency Knight Frank as well as the Malta Central Bank, residential prices in Malta have experienced roughly a 17% year-on-year increase in Q2 2018. This has pushed the country ahead of Hong Kong and placed it top spot in ranking lists for the first time ever. This leap is mainly being attributed to the tug-of-war between ever-growing demands and opposing supply restraints as well as Malta’s 6.6% GDP growth in 2017. In actual fact, prices of properties in desirable locations such as the north of the Grand Harbour towns of Valletta, Sliema and Gzira have increased substantially and rental properties in these areas are always harder to find.
Due to the limited size of the country, the property market is unlike any other. When it comes to property purchases, there is no real difference between areas desired by locals and those preferred by foreign investors. This phenomenon removed much of the volatility in property deals, with good properties retaining and increasing their price substantially due to their standards. This has withstood the test of the 2008 global crisis where, unlike properties in other countries that suffered substantial price drops, Malta’s real estate market retained its value and remained buoyant.
When it comes to the rental market, Malta also has a very unique reality. The Maltese community mainly advocates a mentality of investment in real estate rather rental for own use. Because of this, good-quality properties for rent are hard to come by. With a high influx of foreign human capital, properties for rent are very desirable, hence opening opportunities to embark on favourable ‘buy-to-let’ investment models.
Labelled fondly as a melting pot of cultures and peoples, Malta has surely created the right economic environment to meet the demands of the global investment market. With thriving industries such as financial service, tourism, gaming, pharma, shipping and yachting to mention a few, as well as a solid real estate platform, the island has placed itself as a very desirable setting for real estate investment of any type.