Buying Property in Malta as a Foreigner | How to Buy a House

Buying Property in Malta as a Foreigner | How to Buy a House

05.07.2019 10:19

Malta, the land of the sea, a French, Italian, Arabic and English language mix, is home to the world’s most historic sites. Malta is divided into 5 regions with 68 local councils. The capital is Valletta and the main languages spoken are Maltese and English. 

How difficult is the property purchase process in Malta? 

Buying property in Malta signifies two alternatives, either you are:    

  • Relocating long-term
  • Visiting for vacation

Each alternative goes through a similar number of steps, mostly differing in types of documentation and taxes.

Buying property as a Non-Resident

Knowing how to buy real estate in Malta starts with entering the country accordingly:

  • Non-Maltese to reside 3 months or more: residence permit. 
  • EU/EEA members staying 90 days or more: just passports 
  • Third country nationals staying 90 days or more [holiday homes]: Schengen visa. 

How to buy property in Malta 

I.    Finding a public notary

Knowing how to buy property in Malta means that a public notary must be there to take care of all documentation, payment deadlines, negotiations with landlords and property examinations. 

II.    Step two is only for non-Maltese holiday home seekers/ Non-resident non-EU home buyers/ Non-resident EU buyers of a second home 

A minimum real estate price exists, this price changes quite often but an orientation is: 

a.    More than €100,000 apartment 
b.    More than €165,000 villa / house 

This allows you to acquire the AIP [Acquisition of Immovable Property] permit which gives the right to purchase property. 

III.    Konvenju [Preliminary Agreement]

The konvenju is a binding contract between buyers and sellers outlining certain conditions and the final date of the full transaction. 

During this time, examining the property for defects and documentation is a must:

a.   Specific defects

Knowing how to buy real estate in Malta means dealing with old structures. Some defects are not always noticeable. 
b.   Ownership title 

Double check whether the seller is the direct owner of the property. 

c.   Lien, hypothecs or outstanding debt 

d.   Servitude 

Does anyone else have the right to legally access your building? 

e.    Subletting

Does your area legally allow for subletting? 

The gist is to either back out before signing or include concerns in the konvenju before making further payments. If the owner fails to meet demands, you can still legally back out of the agreement and get money back. 

IV.    Part one of Payments  

EU members’ holiday homes 

  • Stamp duty: 1% of the total 5% [of total property price] – to Inland Revenue
  • 10% deposit [of total property price] – to seller

EU members’ main residence 

  • Stamp duty: 1% of the total 5% [of total property price] – to Inland Revenue 
  • 10% deposit [of total property price] – to seller

Non-EU members’ real-estate/ EU first-time home buyers 

  • Stamp duty: 5% [of total property price] – to Inland Revenue
  • 10% deposit [of total property price] – to seller

V.    Part two of Payments 

If everything goes as planned then the final payment is: 

  • Final selling price 
  • Remaining amount of Stamp Duty 
  • Notary fees 

VI.    Final Deed 

The final konvenju is replaced with the final deed, making the property officially yours. 

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Conditions for buying property in Malta by Non-Residents

Anyone can buy property in Malta, conditions are general: 

  • Afford the property/maintain living conditions
  • Valid travel document 
  • Recognized health insurance 
  • Being a fit and proper person. 

Malta’s Real Estate Market: Costs and Trends 2019

Keeping up to day with real estate market trends can help understand how to buy property in Malta. 
According to CEIC data, Malta’s house price grew 10.8% as of March 2019. Average price of houses year on year growth rate is 5.8%. The House Price Index according to the Central Bank of Malta is 2000=100. 

Salaries

According to the Labour Force Survey, published June 28, 2018 by the Labour Market Statistics Unit of Malta, the average annual salary was estimated at €18,643.  

Economic Activity January-March 2018 Average Salary (€)
Manufacturing, mining, quarrying, other €17,226
Construction €16,583
Wholesale, retail, transportation, storage, accommodation, food service €16,041
Information, communication €21,821
Finance, insurance  €26,004
Professional/scientific/technical administration, support service €17,640
Public administration, defense, education, health, social work €19,090

Education

Education is taught in both English and Maltese. The system is divided into two areas: schools [pre-primary - secondary education] and tertiary level education. 

Schools are categorized into:

  • State schools [free for Maltese]
  • Church schools [free for Maltese]
  • International/ private schools

Tertiary level education is divided into 

  • Public universities [there is only one, the University of Malta] 
  • Private universities 
  • Higher-education institutes 

Advantages of living in Malta

  • Affordable cost of living
  • Multilingual locals 
  • Local cuisine 
  • Historical attractions 
  • Climate & nature 
  • Leisure & cultural events
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Free healthcare [locals & EU residents] 
  • 15% taxation on foreign income [permanent residents] 
  • Low crime level [exercise normal safety precautions]

Valletta or Sliema as a base - Pros and Cons

Answering the question ‘how to buy real estate in Malta’ can start with looking at cities to base in. Some distinctions between Valletta & Sliema include: 

Valletta  Sliema
Population: 5,730 [2016]* Population: 11,318 [2019]*
Popular shopping district  Popular shopping district 
Nightlife picking up  Active nightlife 
UNESCO World Heritage site  Fort Tigné, Teatru Salesjan, historic churches 
Commercial center for businesses More of a residential center 
Has smaller, local markets, pharmacies & schools Has supermarkets, pharmacies & schools
10 minute ferry to Sliema  10 minute ferry to Valletta 

* Valletta-according to United Nations

* Sliema-according to World Population Review 

How to choose Real Estate agents

Knowing how to buy property in Malta with a well-known/recognizable real estate company: 

  • Works in many countries
  • Experienced

These companies are usually pro-customer, have a steady strategy and knowledge of local real estate markets. 

Knowing how to buy property in Malta is easier with Realting.com – our platform provides properties that have already been verified and authenticated.