Attractive property investments linked to residency and citizenship in Malta

Malta is an ideal location in which to take up residency or citizenship. This is according to James Bowling, CEO of Monarch&Co - a company that specialises in facilitating residency and citizenship programmes. 

“Aside from its pleasant climate, safe environment and hospitable English-speaking population, Malta offers various benefits to those who decide to acquire residency or citizenship,” he says. “Highly ranked in the Quality of Life Index, Malta offers EU residency or citizenship through investment, without the applicant having to emigrate.”

So just what are the property options for investors who wish to participate in the Malta residency or citizenship programme? Bowling says that Malta and Gozo boast a good selection of luxury property developments from which buyers can choose. “Properties within these developments are typically designed with one, two or three bedrooms and range in size from approximately 80m2 to 400m2. There is a selection of developments situated all across the islands from waterfront and marina developments to countryside developments and apartments within commercial nodes.

One such development is Portomaso, situated in the sought-after district of St. Julians on Malta’s northern coast. This unique, waterfront residential development covers 128 000m2, while the meandering design of the three-basin, 110-berth yacht marina stretches along 1.6km of water frontage. Complementary components of the development include the 5-star Hilton Malta hotel, a beach club, a health and leisure centre, an office tower, a conference centre and a selection of shops and restaurants.

Portomaso offers a choice of luxurious waterfront apartments and penthouses, overlooking the yacht marina that range in size between 70m2 and 500m2. Designed with one to four bedrooms and spacious private terraces, some of the apartments and penthouses boast their own pools.

Part of the fourth and final phase was placed on the market recently where a few seafront and some inland apartments are available for sale. To meet demand, particularly for smaller apartments, the developers have recently launched Residence 31, an extension of Portomaso, forming part of the fourth phase. Residence 31 comprises a selection of one- and two-bedroom lofts / duplexes; one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and two- and three-bedroom penthouses ideal for either residence or letting.

Located in the southern section of the island is Ta’ Monita Residence in Marsascala. This development is linked to the residency and citizenship by investment programme as it is located in a specially designated area. Spanning over 16 000m2, the development offers studio flats along with one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses. Facilities include a swimming pool, a piazza and underground parking.

The Tigné Point development is set against the historical backdrop of Valletta's 16th century bastions, and bridges the gap between the island's rich cultural heritage and an altogether newer sense of luxury and sophistication. This development comprises 240 apartments that hug the south shore, offering dramatic views, unrivalled landscaping and a calm environment of private gardens and courtyards. On the north side of the peninsula, facing the sea, are an additional 200 luxury apartments set against a bustling urban backdrop.

A sports club with full amenities and a clubhouse will also be linked to the development. The last remaining foreshore apartments in the South Phase are now available for viewing.

“In order to qualify for citizenship by investment in Malta, applicants need to be at least 18 years old and must make three investments,” says Bowling. The first investment is a EUR650 000 contribution to the National Economic and Social Development Fund for the main applicant, plus EUR25 000 for a spouse and each additional dependent under the age of 18, plus a further EUR50 000 for each dependent over the age of 18.

The second investment is the purchase or lease of immovable residential property. Here an investor can either purchase immovable residential property from a minimum of EUR350 000 upward or lease immovable residential property from a minimum value of EUR16 000 annually. The third investment is the purchase of stocks, bonds or debentures to the value of EUR150 000.

For residency options under the Global Residence Programme, applicants need purchase immovable property for a minimum of €275 000. If the property is situated in the south of Malta or Gozo, the minimum value is €220 000.

Applicants will also be eligible if they rent property on an annual basis for €9,600 in Malta or €8,750 in the south of Malta.

Residents under this programme and their dependants have to be covered by health insurance, as they are not entitled to free state-health services. There are no minimum stay requirements.

“The new Residence Programme for Foreigners replaces the High Net Worth Individuals scheme for non-EU foreigners. The requirement to place a €500 000 bond with the government and an additional €150 000 per dependant has been removed,” says Bowling.

Bowling explains that permanent residency refers to a person’s visa status which allows them to reside within a country of which he or she is not a citizen for as long as the validity of the residency.  Citizenship on the other hand is when the investor becomes a citizen of the country in which they have invested, which entitles them to carry that country’s passport without time limitations.

 “Many South Africans are looking for investment options that allow them to financially hedge against future uncertainty and the volatile rand, which is exactly what the residency and citizenship programmes in Malta provide. An offshore property investment is a good rand hedge and one that will undoubtedly attract capital growth over the long term,” Bowling concludes.

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