The Maltese archipelago, consisting of the islands Malta, Gozo, and Comino, is a popular Mediterranean destination for tourists and property seekers alike. With stunning beaches, rich history, vibrant nightlife, and a warm climate, it's no wonder many people consider buying property here. This guide will provide essential information for non-local buyers looking to purchase property in Malta or Gozo.
Living in Malta and Gozo
Despite the global pandemic's impact on the economy, Malta and Gozo remain attractive options for those seeking island life. Government-provided healthcare and education are available for EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens, and transportation costs are affordable due to the islands' size. Real estate is a wise investment, with property prices continuing to rise and an 80% homeownership rate.
Property Purchasing Requirements for Non-Local Buyers
Non-local buyers must meet specific criteria to purchase property in Malta or Gozo. An Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) permit is required for most foreign buyers, with some exceptions for EU citizens and properties in Special Designated Areas (SDAs). Third-country nationals have additional requirements, such as obtaining necessary visas or work permits and meeting minimum property value requirements.
Mortgages and Related Expenses
Expats seeking a mortgage in Malta must first obtain permission from the Central Bank of Malta and open an active Maltese bank account. Additional expenses include stamp duty, notary fees, AIP permit fees, registration and search fees, and various professional service fees.
Searching for Property
Prospective buyers can find properties through estate agents, online platforms, or even word of mouth. Estate agents can provide valuable assistance throughout the property search and transaction process.
Ground Rent (Cens)
Some properties in Malta come with a ground rent, an ongoing payment made to the seller for renting the land the property sits on. Buyers can release themselves from ground rent by paying 20 years' worth of rent at the time of purchase.
Special Designated Areas (SDAs) or Lifestyle Developments
SDAs offer luxury properties with desirable amenities and prime locations, making them popular choices for foreign and local buyers alike. These areas are exempt from certain restrictions, giving non-local buyers the same property rights as Maltese citizens.
Consider a Property Negotiator
Hiring a property negotiator can help buyers find the right property and avoid potential pitfalls. This professional will provide valuable insights throughout the property journey.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Buyers must obtain an EPC from the previous owner, indicating the property's carbon emissions and energy efficiency. The EPC is mandatory for all properties since 2009.
Off-Plan Property Precautions
Purchasing off-plan properties can be risky, as the final result may differ from expectations, and the property's value may decline during construction. Buyers should only make payments with a financial guarantee from an authorized bank.
Independent Legal Advice
It's essential to appoint a lawyer with no ties to estate agencies and experience in helping non-local buyers purchase property in Malta and Gozo. Ensure the lawyer has the necessary credentials to practice law in both Malta and the buyer's home country.
At Gozo Direct, we understand that purchasing property can be a daunting process. We're here to help facilitate your entire journey. Contact us to find your dream property in Malta or Gozo.