Where a person lives can make or break their quality of life. James Busuttil, franchise owner of RE/MAX Central Malta, explains what the heart of Malta has to offer home buyers.
Malta is an attractive place to live. For years, international companies have fallen for the country’s Mediterranean climate, lucrative tax refunds and relative affordability. But the resultant increase in foreign workers, as well as property development, has made the island busier than ever before. And getting around can be a test in patience.
When finding a place to live, the ‘location, location, location’ mantra has never held truer.
“Property in central Malta boasts a key advantage: everywhere is within easy access,” James Busuttil, who runs RE/MAX Central Malta’s two offices in Birkirkara and Attard, says.
“Traffic is a sore point on the island but luckily when living in the centre, everywhere can be reached within 20 minutes, even if you’re travelling north, south, or commuting to the St Julian’s-Sliema area.”
Malta’s centre encompasses a large part of the island and, therefore, a wide variety of properties. From pockets of greenery and centuries-old houses to bustling towns and new-build apartments, the centre brings diversity to Malta’s real estate market.
“We have some lovely residential areas such as San Pawl tat-Tarġa, Birguma and Għargħur, but then there are also energetic town centres in Żebbuġ, Naxxar and Mosta,” Busuttil continues.
“Notably, the Three Villages of Balzan, Attard and Lija remain highly sought after. They’re special spots because they offer a well-located yet idyllic atmosphere with pretty alleys, quaint village squares, hidden-away gardens and architectural gems, including Villa Bologna, Belvedere Tower and San Anton Gardens.”
Central Malta brings houses of character and townhouses to the buyer’s table in abundance. With towns like Attard and Mosta expanding in recent years, maisonettes and roomy apartments are also widely available – more so than in towns like Sliema, St Julian’s or Gżira.
“Variety isn’t unique to the central region,” explains Busuttil, “but the area provides the benefit of location at a reasonable price. While some types of properties are cheaper in the south, they’re better connected in the centre. And while villas are pricy in Madliena and Baħar ic-Cagħaq, they’re much more affordable here.”
The area provides the benefit of location at a reasonable price. While some types of properties are cheaper in the south, they’re better connected in the centre
For this reason, central Malta is favoured by first-time buyers and young families.
“Property purchasers get more square meterage for their euro, and it’s a great place for families,” says Busuttil, “but what really sets the region apart is that most villages are separated by a green belt.
“With many Maltese towns, you can’t tell where one finishes and the next begins. Here, though, there’s often green open space in between. For instance, when travelling from Lija to Mosta, you’re driving past fields, and between Siġġiewi and Żebbuġ, there’s a valley.”
Reflecting on the latest property trends, Busuttil speaks positively despite the uncertainty triggered by COVID-19.
“The real estate sector in central Malta has indeed suffered because of the pandemic – largely because most of our business comes from first-time buyers, families and people up- or downsizing. These are the more cautious buyers. But the sector has picked up in other areas.
“Rental property is a case in point. The central area didn’t fully experience the lettings boom that followed the arrival of international companies. However, Mater Dei Hospital and new key developments like the office and retail complex in Mrieħel are close by, and we’re consequently seeing an uptick in rental investments.”
In his concluding thoughts, Busuttil looks ahead to spring 2021 when the pandemic’s impact will be more evident and market analysis more accurate.
“Right now, we don’t have enough data to make big claims, but in central Malta, we’re seeing some reasonable adjustments in price. Whether that is due to COVID-19, though, is debatable.
“Our gut feeling is that selling prices have increased ever so slightly. Regardless of speculation or forecasting, however, we keep our finger on the pulse to adjust our prices and advice accordingly. What is unlikely to change any time soon, however, is that in central Malta, buyers will always find well-connected, spacious housing at a very reasonable price point.”
For more information on buying, selling and letting property in central Malta and elsewhere on the island, visit www.remax-malta.com.
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