The demand from affluent South Africans for offshore property investments has boosted demand for Malta property.
These wealthy South Africans are looking for offshore property for a variety of reasons – from holiday and retirement homes to investing in Citizenship by Investment programmes.
Lance Cohen, luxury market specialist for Seeff Atlantic Seaboard said that since launching such options locally early this year, there has been steady growth in the demand as awareness grows for the affordability that Malta property offers.
Prices start at around R3 million-R4 million for a property, Seeff said, pointing out that this does not give residency/citizenship, as prices for these are considerably higher.
Malta property has emerged as excellent investments, he said. It is one of the most popular European holiday destinations and attracts around 2 million tourists annually, most of whom need visitor accommodation. It also has a large expat population which further adds to the rental demand.
According to the Global Property Guide, annual rental yields in Malta are climbing steadily. It noted that larger investment apartments in the favourite expatriate areas such as Sliema, St. Julians and Swieqi have average prices per square metre of around €3,200 to €3,500 and yielded returns of around 4.4% last year.
“Malta is a fabulous offshore property investment destination for South Africans,” said Cohen. ”
Its Citizenship by Investment programme is very attractive because Malta is an EU country with a Euro-zone/Schengen visa. A successful applicant and his/her family gain the right to live, work and study throughout any of the 28 EU Member States as well as enjoying visa-free travel to over 160 countries including the US and Canada.”
He said that the country offers political and economic stability and tax advantages. It is currently going through a period of rapid economic growth with excellent investment opportunities. The economic growth rate is around 7% per annum while property prices are appreciating at rates of 6% to 7%.
Aside from a favourable tax climate, there are no property or council taxes, nor any other costs usually associated with owning property. There are also no inheritance taxes. The property side of a citizenship or residence application is safe and straight forward.
There are several property hotspots, said Cohen. These include Sliema and St Julian’s, both for purchase and rental investments as well as the adjacent areas of San Gwann, Swieqi and even towards Naxxar.
There is a wide mix of property options for buyers and investors, ranging from older historic apartments and villas to renovated and modern complexes with luxury apartments.