The Maltese government has introduced a programme through which citizens from non-EU states can acquire Maltese citizenship.
This automatically makes them citizens of the European Union (EU) and can therefore provide them with an EU passport and rights such as the free movement of persons and workers throughout the EU. This also includes visa-free travel to a total of 160 countries as well as open borders within the Schengen area.As part of the Maltese citizenship programme the main applicant can also file applications for eligible dependents such as spouses, children, parents or grandparents. All applications for national citizenship are carefully examined by the Malta Authority, the body responsible for the programme.
The “Malta Individual Investor Programme” (MIIP) requires investments in the region of 1.5 million euros for applicants, which includes an economic contribution to the Malta National Development & Social Fund as well as the acquisition or rental of a property. Applicants must prove that they own a property worth at least 350,000 euros or are renting for a minimum of 16,000 euros per year. Once acquired or rented, the property must remain under the ownership of the applicant for a minimum of five years. However, applicants are not obliged to live on Malta permanently. "We welcome the government's initiative. It is a fantastic opportunity to make properties on Malta even more attractive to new international buyer groups", said Sara Grech, Managing Partner of Engel & Völkers on Malta.
MIIP generates a huge leap in interest in property on Malta
The measures taken by the government pave the way for an increased demand for property on Malta. According to property expert Sara Grech, the programme is invigorating the market on the Mediterranean island and proving particularly attractive to investors from China. However, since the MIIP was introduced, buyers from the USA, South America and Russia have also shown a marked increase in interest in property on Malta and the associated prospect of EU citizenship. "Investment in a high quality residential property is particularly attractive to investors from non-EU countries, as it represents a secure financial investment with an additional yield opportunity. Furthermore, for many wealthy parties, it is also an exclusive lifestyle acquisition", observed Sara Grech. One major selling point is the fact that English is the second official language on Malta, and is spoken fluently on the island. Interested parties from outside the European Union tend to be private buyers, some of whom want to live on Malta permanently or are looking for an attractive second home. "We have also registered some enquiries from institutional investors wanting to expand their property portfolios", explained Sara Grech.
Supply struggles to keep up with the high demand
The residential property market on Malta is noted for its extreme stability. A Mediterranean climate all year round, excellent connections with many European airports plus political and economic stability all combine to make the island state of Malta a desirable location for investors. Engel & Völkers assumes that the high demand from overseas will be hard to satisfy, as exclusive properties in prime locations are few and far between on Malta. "The market is characterised by a very low number of high quality new construction projects. And since Malta is an island there is understandably a shortage of plots in top locations", commented Sara Grech.
Up to 20 million euros for luxurious properties in ideal locations
The most frequent sales on Malta involve detached houses priced between 500,000 euros and one million euros, while luxury properties in the best locations can sell for between 10 and 20 million euros. The highest prices in the capital city, Valetta, are paid for modernised historic Palazzos, which often date back to the 12th century and where the fixtures and fittings and overall finish are of an exceptionally high quality. Customers are willing to pay up to 6,500 euros per square metre for exclusive apartments in prime locations.
The most popular places are Valletta, Sliema, St. Julians, Ibrag, Madliena, Bahar Ic Caghaq and Swieqi. Old Houses and Palazzos can be found in small romantic villages such as Birgu, Zebbug, Siggiewi and Rabat whilst attractive properties can also be found in the fishing villages in the south such as M’Xlokk, M’Scala and Birzebugia.