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Ian Zammit, Sotheby’s Realty

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your company

Malta Sotheby’s International Realty is the local arm of Sotheby’s International Realty brand. The Sotheby’s International Realty® brand’s history goes back to 1744, when Sotheby’s Auction House was established; in 1976 Sotheby’s expanded into real estate to service the property needs of the most prestigious clientele in the world.

Working from our headquarters situated in the Tower Business Centre in Swatar, and our luxurious walk-in office at 200, Tower Road, Sliema, Malta Sotheby’s International Realty offers an unrivalled service to both buyers and sellers of premium property on the island. We boast a network of over 650 global Sotheby’s real estate offices, with whom we work closely to refer clientele to our portfolio, listing each home on our luxury property portal www.maltasothebysrealty.com. Our associates are leaders in their field with high-net-worth contacts – both in Malta and overseas.

Malta Sotheby’s International Realty covers the islands of Malta and Gozo, managing residential, commercial, sale and rental properties.What has the property market been like this year?

2013 has been a strong year for property in Malta due to a number of factors; the island’s government has launched various incentives for businesses and high net worth individuals to relocate and enjoy tax and fiscal benefits – these include the Global Residence Program and the Individual Investor Program. Malta’s economy has also helped keep the property market buoyant; whereas our European neighbours Spain and Greece have struggled in the recession, the Maltese economy has remained strong and key industries such as finance and iGaming are thriving. Finally, Malta is home to a number of exclusive luxury developments – Smart City, Tigne Point and Madliena being just a few – which are enticing buyers in the upper end of the market.

What do you expect to happen to the market in 2014?

In 2014 we predict foreign buyers will amount to around 15% of our sales, and we also predict that the market next year will focus on the areas around Malta’s yacht Marinas – Ta ‘Xbiex and Vittoriosa.’

Are there any "hotspots" to look out for?

The seaside area of St Julian’s, with its two bays, bustling restaurant, bar and café scene and high-end hotels, continues to be a favourite with property buyers. Sliema also remains very popular – a central location with Malta’s main shopping district and easy access to Valetta. For a more relaxing, exclusive region, the villa development of Madliena in the countryside is a good choice.

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What are the major challenges faced by expats looking to buy?

One of the main challenges for expats would be understanding the landscape of Malta and where to best invest their money. Areas such as St Julian’s, Sliema, Swieqi and Madliena are popular due to their proximity to the sea and popular restaurants/amenities. However buyers could perhaps get more for their money or a better deal in an area nearby – but they would need the advice of an experienced local agent to find their ideal location.

What advice would you give to expats going through the buying process?

First of all, decide on a budget and be realistic – once you factor in moving costs, furniture and fittings (remember that some new Maltese apartment blocks need kitchens and bathrooms fitted by the buyer) etc, what is your exact spend amount? Then compile a list of ‘must haves’ – do you want a sea view? What would you prefer, being on the top floor or having a garden? What size of property are you looking for? Does your property need to have buy to let potential if you eventually move on from Malta? Have all these queries and points listed before you meet with your real estate agent and this will assist in finding you the perfect selection of properties.

Can you be contacted for further information?

Malta Sotheby’s International Realty has just opened an office on Tower Road, Sliema – the perfect location for visitors to Malta to drop in and meet our team:
200 Tower Road
Sliema SLM 1602
Tel: +356 2010 8070
Mob: +356 9910 8070
E: info@maltasothebysrealty.com
W: maltasothebysrealty.com

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