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Property Investment Advice

Maltese property has been growing in popularity and for more than one reason:

  • In the 2000 – 2017 period (almost twenty years!) property prices never registered negative annual growth – that’s to say, they never dropped
  • In the same period, Maltese property also had the best return of all EU countries, after Sweden
  • In 2018, for the first time, Malta was the fastest-growing real estate market in the world, overtaking Hong Kong

Given the above, it is tempting to hold Maltese property within one’s investment portfolio. However, not all property offers the same risk / return profile. Indiscriminate buying may work in a bubble market, but will be punished when property valuations get back in touch with reality.

As part of our services, we provide clients with market research and consult on likely future returns from investment property. We consider investment properties on the following bases:

  • Capital growth and cash flow projections
  • Affordability and rate sensitiveness (if bank loans are taken out)
  • Maintenance and management costs
  • Overall market trends

We will shortly also offer an instant DYI property valuation tool.

Common questions about Property Investment Advice

What property inventory do you have access to?

First of all, the investment property universe includes residential as well as commercial property. Some of the best returns are found in the latter segment: if you’d purchased quality commercial property in Valletta when it was not on the radar (we are talking four or five years ago, not decades) you could presently be enjoying a 20/20% yield on cost. But you’d have had to go against the current of the masses saying “no one wants to be in Valletta after 9PM”.

 

We have access to all public property listings, properties for sale directly by the owners, and off-the-market properties that you will not find elsewhere.

 

To begin with, it saves a considerable amount of time to have one interlocutor that represents your interests and can introduce you to any property in the market. Traditional agencies sell what’s on their own shelves: agency A sells all properties that are listed with A, and agency B sells all properties that list with B. A will never show you B’s properties and viceversa. We are happy to show you A, B, C and everything else. As simple as that.

 

Secondly, for a variety of reasons, some properties do not make it to the open market. Whether it is because we have a special relationship with a developer, or because the seller does not want any traditional agencies (and their commissions) involved, we can introduce you to off-the-market properties you would not otherwise likely find.

Is this service suitable for foreign buyers?

As part of our Search and Acquisition service, we advise foreign buyers who are interested in sourcing a Maltese property while residing in a different country.

If you can only visit Malta and Gozo a few days at a time, we guarantee you will be better off leaving the hard work of sourcing a property to us, and enjoying what the country has to offer in your days off instead.

When do you get paid for your services?

Our fees are very transparent. You will know them upfront before we are engaged for our services.

 

In principle, we get paid when the final contract is signed. Our fees are paid directly to us from the proceeds of the sale. There are two exceptions: we charge a small retainer fee when a client signs us up (this is to ensure there is commitment on both sides) and we charge hourly rates for some extra services such as architectural services, negotiation with tradesmen etc. Even in those cases, we quote for the additional services ahead of time.

Are there really so many pitfalls in the Maltese real estate market?

We hope we did not frighten you with references to less-than-great tradesmen giving kickbacks to get introductions, or other professionals not looking after the buyers’ interests. There are many honest and reputable people working in the Maltese real estate market. The question is: do you know who to talk to?

Often, mistakes are made negligently rather than through bad intention. A buyer purchases a property in the town centre. However, no one saw that the house is in the list of scheduled (protected) properties. It’s no one’s duty to tell them, really. Now the buyer can no longer make the changes they wanted, and they’re stuck with a lemon. Another buyer purchases a commercial property and pays 5% stamp duty. Except that the property was in an Urban Conservation Area, and the buyer paid twice as much duty as they needed to. Now they need to get the money back from the Revenue, which costs time, and money.

Avoiding pitfalls takes time and effort. We save our clients both.

Do you advise investing in off-plan property?

When you buy off-plan, you bind yourself to purchase a property that does not yet exist. While we follow the general rule that “everything has a price”, we are most careful about off-plan properties. There are a number of reasons:

  • When you buy an off-plan property, you generally pay a 10 to 20% deposit when you sign the promise of sale. Other milestone payments may be required before the property is delivered to you. In principle, these deposits are returned to you if the property is not delivered within the agreed time. However, if the developer is no longer in business…
  • It may be difficult to obtain bank financing for an off-plan investment, or the financing may be subjected to tighter conditions, or higher borrowing rates.
  • Buying off-plan and “flipping” the non-yet-existent property to someone else sounds like a great way to make money when the market is on the way up. However, you may be the one left holding the bag when the market goes south. You are waiting for the property to be delivered while market conditions deteriorate. You can’t rent the property to generate cashflow and your deposit is tied up.

Bottom line, we will evaluate each investment on its merits, but an off-plan investment generally merits a discount because of the credit risk and execution risk you expose yourself to while waiting for the property you are purchasing.

Why pay more for the same property?

Property Hunters offers the lowest commission of any full service agency in Malta.

We are the only ones to offer thousands of euros in cashback when you purchase a property though us (even the developers themselves won't give you this!).

In a nutshell? If you buy the same property from someone else, it will cost you more.

If you like to save money, sign up for our weekly update on newly listed properties. Or just contact us.

Property Hunters