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Buying a property in Malta

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If during your stay in Malta you feel like buying a property, here is some useful information on the country's real estate market and on related procedures.

Malta's real estate market has been flourishing over the past few years. Indeed, foreign nationals are keener about buying a real estate property in the country thanks to attractive prices and low tax rates, as well as less restrictive provisions. Whether you have chosen to invest in Malta, Gozo or Comino, rest assured! You are likely to enjoy a rich, peaceful, dynamic and homelike environment and lifestyle, away from most European cities' dreariness.

Expat-friendly regions

Malta is divided into three main islands, two of which are more welcoming towards foreigners. Malta, which is the main island, is the country's economic and cultural center. Valletta, which is the capital city, Sliema, Saint Julian’s, Maraskala, Marsaxlokk and Mellieha are the most dynamic cities of this side of the archipelago.

Gozo, for its part, is under-developed, but holds a rich rural and cultural atmosphere. Note that Gozo is very popular with retirees, especially Victoria, its capital city which is also known as Rabat. Masalforn and Xlendi are other ideal regions to settle down by investing in a real estate property. But in general, it is best to be on the spot to determine where you would prefer to invest according to your preferences.

Finding property

Internet will probably be your main tool during your property search in Malta. By typing keywords such as “real estate in Malta”, you are likely to come across many interesting opportunities. But if you are already on the spot, it might be wiser to seek the help of a real estate agency. Make sure to list your criteria and expectations when it comes to the types of property (swimming pool, garden, proximity with schools, etc), as well as your budget. Feel free to visit several real estate agencies before deciding. Choose the one which is the clearest and most efficient in terms of communication.

Do you need an acquisition permit?

The acquisition permit, known as the Acquisition of Immovable Property Permit (AIP), is a particular feature in real estate transactions in Malta. In fact, although buying a property in the country is rather easy, you should be aware of the following:

  • European nationals having lived in Malta continuously for five years have the same rights as Maltese nationals when it comes to buying a property, that is, he does not require an acquisition permit
  • European nationals who have not lived in Malta continuously for the last five years have to request for an acquisition permit to buy a property which will be considered as their secondary residence in special designated areas (SDA)
  • non-European nationals, regardless of the length of their stay in Malta, have to apply for an acquisition permit.

You are therefore advised to seek all relevant information from competent authorities or from a real estate agency.

Inland Revenue

Capital Transfer Duty Department

46, Monti di Pietà Buildings, Merchants Street, Valletta

Email : capitaltransfers.ird@gov.mt

Tel. : 356 2299 8171 / 356 2299 8136 / 356 2299 8106 / 356 2299 8207

Procedures

Once you have found your dream property, you will have to fill in the following formalities:

  • you will make an offer or discuss the sale price with the owner, preferably in the real estate agent's presence, following a satisfactory visit on the premises
  • thereafter, you will sign a sale agreement which is a legal document containing details of the sale, the amount deposited (10% of the total sale price), the tax stamp amount (3.5% for the first 150 000 of the property's price and 5% of the remaining amount if it is more than 150 000 euros), as well as conditions pertaining to the whole payment
  • the whole transaction, as well as the title deed will be checked by a notary (so as to determine whether the property has ever been mortgaged or is bound by debts)
  • a final sale date will then be established (either at the bank or before the notary). You will then be able to transfer the full payment to the seller and pay the stamp tax to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue.

As regards agency fees, these are shared both by the buyer and the seller. These generally amount to 5% of the property's value. You also have to pay notary fees which start as from 1% of the property's total value.

 Useful links:

Expat.com – Housing for sale in Malta 
Housing Authority housingauthority.gov.mt
Inland Revenue Authority ird.gov.mt
Government of Malta – Buying property in Malta www.gov.mt/en/Life Events/Renting and Purchasing Property

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See also

If you wish to relocate in a rural environment with a rich natural landscape, Gozo can be the ideal destination, providing a range of accommodation.
Located on Malta's North-east coast, Sliema is a very relaxed place to be. You should not have much trouble in finding accommodation there.
Being Malta's economic and cultural center, Valletta is rather open towards foreign nationals wishing to settle there by providing accommodation.
When moving to Malta, finding accommodation should be one of your main concerns, but this should not so complicated.

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