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Finding, Buying and Renting Property for Expats in Malta

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: November 2013

Finding Property

Since most property in Malta is advertised and controlled via estate agents, you will most likely end up using one of them. Note that estate agents cannot tie themselves to you so it is certainly wise to shop around.

It is probably a good idea to use the internet, at least to get an initial feel for the types and prices of property available. Some popular websites are given below:

Renting

Both short-term and long-term accommodation is available in Malta. Most available properties are furnished. Bills are often exclusive of the price for long-term rents and inclusive for short-term rents.  Due to the fact that they are imported, gas and electricity are quite expensive in Malta, and drinking water is bottled.

Non-residents are only permitted to rent property on a short-term basis. Rent costs for a small apartment are about €165, and €420 for a house. There is a minimum amount of rental charge of €9,600 for non-residents. Furthermore non-residents are only permitted to rent accommodation in designated areas.

The initial outlay for renting includes one month’s rent security deposit, common to many countries. Additionally, if you have used an estate or letting agent, they may charge you and the landlord an extra two weeks’ worth of rent as a fee.

Buying property

Malta was one of the first EU countries to see its house prices recover and start rising again. Since 2009, house prices have shown a slow but steady rise.  More recently, there has been a modest rise of 0.1% in the first quarter of 2013 and 1.2% in the second. Assuming this trend continues, now may be a good time to look into buying property in Malta.

Maltese law allows the resale and repatriation of all proceeds from resale. Taxes are low in Malta. Property taxes and rates do not exist, neither do taxes on wealth or inheritance. Property prices are rather high, however.

There are no formal restrictions to house purchase other than a government permit, which you will always need for a second residence. If you are from outside the EU, you will always require a permit to buy property unless you are buying in one of the special designated areas.

In order to attract non-EU migrants, a new scheme was set up in July 2013, the Global Residence Programme. This lowered the existing minimum purchase price for foreigners; it is now €275,000 for the north of Malta and €220,000 for southern Malta and Gozo.

The first stage of house purchase in Malta is to sign a konvenju, a preliminary agreement which legally binds you and the vendor to complete the transaction, provided the property is found to be a good one. Once this document is signed, 1% of the stamp duty (out of a total of 5%) is paid.

You and the vendor will also need to agree on a deposit; a typical amount for this is 10%. This is paid to a notary public, who you will need to appoint. The notary public is responsible for checking the property is not mortgaged already and performing various other searches. You may also want to hire a lawyer to make sure you are represented fairly. Estate agent fees range from 3.5 to 5%.

 

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