Anglophile Malta a top proposition

Timothy Barber
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WITH winter descending, one can hardly be blamed for thinking about sunnier, warmer climes. While the downturn has badly affected much of the holiday homes market, it can still be both a fabulous luxury and a sound investment to own a place for summer escapes if you can find the right spot.

The island of Malta was one of the most popular destinations for British holidaymakers in the Fifties and Sixties, but in the age of Ibiza and Aya Napa it fell out of fashion – and that, says Ray Woods of Malta-based estate agent, is one of its most attractive features now.

“You can live within the Maltese community very easily, rather than being relegated to a tourist area,” he says. “Along with Maltese, English is the official language on the island, which further reduces barriers.” They even drive on the left.

And right now, buying in Malta can be a good investment. Though the downturn devastated many other Mediterranean property markets, particularly in Spain, Maltese banks avoided liquidity problems and the property market has remained relatively buoyant.

And so keen is the Maltese government to encourage foreign investment in the island, that they’ve made it as easy as possible. Temporary residents don’t get charged council taxes, and when you sell, all funds and profits made can be repatriated with you.

The proposition is made more attractive still by the fact that the market is dominated by Maltese buyers themselves – the island has a 98 per cent home ownership rate, so you’ll most likely be buying from locals rather than speculators. For the past 50 years, property values have averaged 8 per cent growth annually.

The island is just 19 miles long, which means whether you buy a coastal villa, a townhouse or one of the many inland farmhouses that are ripe for development, you’re almost certainly within view of the sea.

And with newer luxury developments like that at Tigne Point, with Malta is becoming glamorous once more. Ibiza watch out.

There are two rather swanky penthouses remaining in this new development sitting on the tip of the peninsula with views across the harbour to Valetta, the island’s capital. Enjoy your own private pool, lavish terraces and some spectacular interior design.

A fully furnished, air conditioned apartment not far from the seafront, with three bedrooms. A bright, modern holiday pad with lots of natural light, and views of the Maltese countryside and the sea from its front and back balconies.

An old and imposing, double-fronted corner house with lots of period character, in the heart of a highly sought-after village. Vaulted ceilings, exposed wooden berams and an arched cellar add to the old-world charm in this five bedroom property.

A magnificent villa with traditional colonnaded facade and spacious balconies, sitting at a central corner of a tranquil Maltese village. Four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and room for a swimming pool in the back yard.