Home » Malta » Michael J Zammit, Director and Joint Owner, Malta Sotheby’s International Realty

Michael J Zammit, Director and Joint Owner, Malta Sotheby’s International Realty

Please tell us a bit about yourself and the company.

I decided to join my father’s business five years after it was up and running. At the time, our main services were credit management and recruitment, however, when we saw the potential for wider development, we worked towards establishing CSB Group as a one-stop shop for foreigners looking to set up their business and/or relocate to Malta and later on ventured into the corporate services and fiduciary spheres too. In 2003, I took on the role of Group CEO and since developed the group to a team of 60+.Attracting Sotheby’s International Realty to Malta was an investment made by CSB Group in order to attract highly qualifying buyers to the Maltese market. As a team, we strive to serve the luxury real estate market across the Maltese Islands whilst promoting the island’s unique selling points in this respect. The Malta office was inaugurated in 2013 and we have had a highly successful track record so far, looking forward to more exciting prospects, particularly as we represent a brand that is the pure embodiment of luxury and prestige.

What has the property market been like this year?

As a general rule, the Maltese property market has always enjoyed a relatively stable position with appreciating values year on year. This year was no exception. According to Eurostat figures published earlier this year in fact, Malta was among those EU countries to register the highest increase in property prices with 11%.

This means that demand remains high, particularly within the luxury sector. This is not only being experienced in Malta, as according to the latest findings on the report published by Wealth X, an increased demand for luxury real estate is being experienced worldwide. The rental market is also quite fast-moving and demand is particularly high for centrally-located property within or close to the island’s business and activity hubs.

What do you expect to happen to the market in 2015?

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We’re expecting demand to remain high, particularly in view of the wider social and economic scenario. Figures from 2014 show that last year almost half of property transactions in Malta were traced back to overseas buyers. As Malta continues to attract foreigners who want to work and invest here, it would follow that they will also be looking to set up residence on the island.

According to current trends, luxury real estate is being all the more sought after, which means that buyers will be keeping an eye out for good value and high quality higher-end properties that they can invest in. It will be interesting to see what the figures will show at the end of year, compared to last year’s performance.

Are there any “hotspots” to look out for?

In many cases, location is a subjective matter that highly depends on one’s tastes and requirements. For instance, someone who wants quietness and a degree of seclusion will most likely look for property located in traditional Maltese village and away from the hustle and bustle of town, whereas someone who is involved in business and prefers to be centrally located will most likely move to the more crowded town areas Sliema and St. Julians.

These two localities in particular are always extremely sought after because they can be considered as Malta’s commercial and leisure centrals where most of the island’s activity goes on. This means that a foreigner living here will hardly need to travel at all to get to any service or amenity. In addition, Valletta is also easily reachable from here and it only takes a few minutes by car or public transport, which is a great advantage.

It is also important to know that many of the island’s best luxury lifestyle developments, such as Tigne Point, Fort Cambridge, Pendergardens and Portomaso are situated in the Sliema/St Julians area. Property situated within these developments is highly popular with foreigners not just for its exclusive offering, but also because residences situated within these complexes fall within a list of Special Designated Areas.

Valletta is also rapidly picking up and becoming increasingly popular in terms of real estate. Its central location, exceptional cultural and historical offering, along with the fact that it will be European Capital of Culture in 2018 is placing the city in the spotlight. I would say that the present moment is highly opportune for anyone who is interested in investing in a Valletta property.

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

Probably, the major challenge would be not knowing the ins and outs of the market – what to buy and what not to buy and being able to get the best deal and make a sound investment. In addition to that, the whole relocation process requires one’s attention to be spread over a number of things, making it even more difficult, sometimes, to be completely focused on the buying procedure.

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

I would strongly advise that they seek the expert guidance of a reputable, local real estate agent. Having someone who is professional, trustworthy and also knowledgeable about the local market will greatly facilitate the buying process. Real estate agents, through their experience and network will be able to ‘shop around’ for the client and offer the best property match available on the market for that particular client. They would also be able to offer complementary advice about other aspects surrounding the buying process.

Secondly, it is always important to do one’s own research and familiarise oneself with local regulations, restrictions and latest updates with regards the local property market in order to be able to make an informed choice at the end of the day.

How can you be contacted for further information?

For further information about investing in property in Malta or relocating to Malta, our professional team of associates will be glad to assist any query. We can be reached via telephone on +356 2010 8070 or email on info@maltasothebysrealty.com. Alternatively, anyone who is interested in our extensive database of properties for sale or for rent can also browse our website www.maltasothebysrealty.com. Our office is situated on 200, Tower Road, Sliema.

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