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46 | REPORT WORDS | Sean Lightbown


or one of the smallest states in the world, the island nation of Malta is making a big splash in the world of overseas property.


For Nick Bilocca, marketing manager at Maltese agency Frank Salt, the foreign market is a hefty chunk of its business. “For us the overseas market represents about 50% of our market,” he says. “The nationalities for us are ranging from the United Kingdom, South Africa, Germany and others. Before the UK market were just mainly enquiring about property here. But now the fact that the UK market is now buying on top of this, it is coming back strongly this year and it is an good indicator.” Cassar and Cooper, another Maltese overseas property agency, is also seeing a return of a lot of European buyers. “It is busier, defi nitely busier,” according to sales manager Allesandro Alosio. “It is mostly in the upper end of

An island to treasure F

the market and it is a mix of buyers. We are having quite a few Italians coming in as well as British. Germans, Dutch and Swedes are buying here too. The Swedish market is a very important market to us. In terms of non-EU, Russians and Chinese buyers are starting to look in.” James Vallasso, sales and marketing senior manager at Tigne Point, agrees that his place has seen a wide range of international buyers. Malta has continued to attract

property buyers from all over the world but particularly from EU nations,” he says.

“International buyers at Tigne Point make up almost half of all the 265 apartment sales to date. These include mainly British nationals as well as Scandinavians and Germans, Dutch, Italian and French. Non EU purchasers include Russian, Chinese and South African buyers amongst others.” Malta has several factors working in its favour in terms of attracting

international property buyers, Vassallo adds. “Generally speaking investment

buyers tend to look for a country with a stable Government and a steady economy, good local demand and tax conditions, and the ability to earn capital growth and repatriate funds easily.”

“Recent excellent tourism fi gures augur well since a percentage tend to return as buyers”

“On the other hand, from our local experience we feel that buyers planning to live overseas themselves look for clement weather, good schooling and health care, friendly locals and, ideally, no language barriers. Malta’s appeal stems from the fact that it excels in all of these spheres. It really does tick all the boxes and recent excellent tourism fi gures augur well since a fair

The tiny nation of Malta is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with other, more illustrious Mediterranean countries to compete with. However, it’s diverse history, relative economic stability and fi nancial incentives have made it popular with overseas buyers.

percentage tend to return as potential buyers.” George Bonnici, sales and

marketing director at Malta developer Tumas Group, which runs projects such as Portomaso, Tas Sellum and Ta’ Monita, says both EU and non-EU overseas buyers make up half of the company’s market.

“Our projects surprisingly enough attract local and foreign investors. The ratio would be 50% - 50%,” he said. “The foreign nationals are South African, British, Chinese, Italian, German and Swiss.”

In terms of buying habits, the foreign buyer “usually purchases a larger apartment for own personal use, whilst saving the smaller apartments for investment purposes”, adds Bonnici. Bonnici concedes that the euro zone crisis has affected Malta “badly”, highlighted by the fact that “in the past the British market was our main market....taking up over 70% of the foreigners buying in Malta [but] due

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