During a time of volatility in Europe’s socioeconomic fabric, ironically, the investment in top-end properties seemingly remains unaffected and even on the rise. There is evidence in Malta’s real estate sector that homes which stand out from the crowd are being cherry-picked by wealthy buyers and investors for many reasons.

A number of homes in the upper-end price bracket have caught the attention of high-profile local and international clients who were happy to part with many millions of euros to attain ownership.

“If we look at the background of these exciting transactions, we can see that it consists of several components working together rather than a smash-and-grab approach most people may assume is the case,” Grahame Salt, director at Frank Salt Real Estate, said.

“Selling very expensive properties is not the easiest of feats to accomplish. It takes extensive targeted marketing, a global network engaged in complex negotiations and many times tens of thousands of euros on the side of the real estate agent representing these properties to get it sold. In addition, negotiations to conclude a sale can be drawn out, involve repeated visits by the prospective owner or their representatives and a sales contract will be scrutinised countless times by teams of lawyers while authorities conduct meticulous due diligence checks to approve the sale for this market bracket.”

Any agent that deals in this very demanding market segment needs to possess an excellent understanding of the sometimes complex and varied requirements these priority clients may have. The company representing the sellers many times invests heavily in promoting not only the property itself, but also the Maltese archipelago offshore by attending, participating and organising property fairs and exhibitions all over the world.

“This may mean marketing not only the properties but also ‘Brand Malta’ in places like South Africa, England, Sweden, Dubai, Turkey and the US for starters. This is never done in isolation by the real estate company but always in cooperation with leading international partners from all over the globe,” Alex Papagiorcopulo, manager, Homes of Quality, said.

International investors of distinct properties have a varied appetite and this is where Malta has a definite advantage

“When it comes to choosing a luxury property, the evidence is clear: international investors of distinct properties have a varied appetite and this is where Malta has a definitive advantage,” he added.

When it comes to the local real estate landscape, the various property types such as apartments, bungalows, villas, character homes, palazzos and period townhouses can satisfy nearly any preference a buyer may have, even though Malta’s greatest limitation has always been space.

Papagiorcopulo said: “But it is not as easy as one may think: there are far fewer properties available in the lux bracket that distinguish themselves from the rest, either by way of location, views enjoyed, levels of finishes or facilities they incorporate.

“This especially applies to bigger properties that have been built or renovated to the standards that international and local multi-millionaires demand.”

Asked why affluent buyers go for these properties, Salt noted: “Some of the reasons these properties are highly sought after are not only their limited availability, but also the excellent long-term investment potential they hold. While providing their owners with all the comforts associated with luxury family homes, high-end quality properties will seemingly always be in demand as they enjoy far better returns and are less susceptible to price volatility.”

Papagiorcopulo continues: “The local property market is very different to most other international property markets in that it is extremely resilient. This plays a definite role in Malta homes being earmarked for safe, long-term investment purposes. The country managed to retain stable growth over the last four decades, even in the most challenging of times such as the international financial services crisis of 2008 and, more recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Property prices not only have remained stable for most classes, but also witnessed registered growth for the upper luxury end. In fact, there seems to be nothing that can stop the up-and-up of the Maltese property market.”

Questioned about the letting market, Salt remarked: “We have witnessed a huge demand for rental apartments and houses, very often from highly paid expats. When investors realise that the property capital growth, coupled with rental returns result in very handsome ROI figures, they are more inclined to invest in real estate rather than other more volatile investment options. 

“Companies that have had considerable success in the top end of the market share some common traits: all only employ highly specialised consultants who have been in the real estate business for many years. All of these agents are consummate professionals who not only have an excellent grasp of the market and an innate ability to identify the best investment options, but also have an excellent understanding of the rigorous legal requirements, taxes and the various residency programmes available to prospective investors.”

Therefore, it is evident that if you are a company in Malta that can boast a long heritage, proud ethos, highly skilled consultants, superb support infrastructure, esteemed international partners and an extraordinary customer satisfaction rate, you can look forward to servicing some of the world’s most discerning clients and selling some of the most stunning properties.

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