Michael Bonello Alliance

With 30 branches and over 350 property sales and letting advisors, Alliance is one of the largest real estate agencies in Malta. Building on his vast experience in the sector, Michael Bonello is Founder and CEO of Alliance Group and leads the Real Estate Agents Section of the Malta Development Association.

What are the particular elements that make Malta an attractive place to buy real estate?

Apart from the temperate climate, rich cultural heritage and Mediterranean lifestyle offered by many destinations in our region, Malta’s very small size offers more assurance of capital appreciation to international investors. In Malta, everywhere is within close proximity, so there are hardly any depressed areas where property prices remain stagnant for years.

Moreover, Malta’s economy is attracting large numbers of foreign workers, boosting demand for accommodation to unprecedented levels and pushing up rental prices, delivering even more attractive returns on rental investments. The fact that we do not have any annual property taxes is another advantage that makes Malta an attractive place to buy real estate for long-term investment.

Lastly, we are an English-speaking country and our way of life is as compatible with European values as it is with Arab cultures, helping everyone to feel welcome here. We enjoy a peaceful and productive democracy with excellent education and medical care that makes Malta an excellent place to live and work in.

What benefits and incentives, tax-related or otherwise, are property buyers, specifically foreign ones, eligible for?

First-time buyers benefit from a one-time grant of €10,000 spread over 10 years when purchasing properties over €500,000. When purchasing an older-style home built more than 20 years ago which has been vacant for seven years, or a newly constructed property with traditional Maltese architecture, buyers can also apply for an additional €15,000 grant for restoration. For properties in Gozo, this grant goes up to €30,000. On these types of properties, buyers and vendors are exempt from stamp duty and final withholding tax on the first €750,000 of their property.

If you are buying your first home in Malta to establish your residence, you may be exempt from paying stamp duty on the first €200,000 and only pay 5 per cent on any amount above that, in a scheme open until the end of 2024. I would suggest asking a qualified estate agent for more details and any relevant updates that may be applicable.

What advice would you give to a foreign investor looking at Malta’s real estate sector as a possible avenue for investment?

Start by looking through real estate websites from where you can easily submit requests for more information on specific listings. Depending on the quality of replies you receive, you can begin to shortlist your preferred property advisor/s to work with. A reliable property advisor can guide you through the process from start to finish, and can suggest alternatives, arrange viewings and even support you to negotiate the best deal.

Are there any particular areas, in terms of geographic location or property types, that seem to have particularly strong upside potential over the coming years?

The Northern Harbour region has always seen consistently high demand, but nowadays this is also visible across towns and villages in most other regions. Valletta and the Three Cities, St Paul’s Bay and Gozo are still on the up and up. Meanwhile, terraced houses are becoming so rare that their potential cannot be disregarded, but then again the demand for apartments is much greater, giving these properties a much larger selling potential.

This feature was first carried in the Malta Invest 2024 edition. Malta Invest is the first-ever comprehensive international investment guide focusing on Malta as a destination. It is produced by Content House Group.

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