Maltese Real Estate an 'Opportunity Gateway' for Ultra Rich
According to the findings of Wealth-X and Malta Sotheby's International Realty, Malta is home to 35 Ultra-High-Net-Worth (UHNW) individuals worth around ?145bn and two foreign billionaires.
Published last week, the report reveals that 77% of UHNW foreigners who have acquired a residency permit in Malta are self-made. One of Malta's billionaire residents is Irish-born Denis O'Brien who owns Communicorp, a media holding company operating across Europe and he is listed among the World's Top 200 Billionaires in 2015.
To qualify as an UHNW individual, investable assets of at least ?27bn are the benchmark, excluding personal assets and property such as a primary residence, collectibles and consumer durables. In February 2015, Malta Sotheby's International announced its partnership with Wealth-X to provide valuable insights into today's luxury real estate market and the buying behaviour of the ultra-wealthy consumer.
Malta is among the world's smallest nations, with a rich history and culture that has been a strong pull for UHNW residents for many years. The country boasts a warm subtropical climate, stunning cliff views of the Mediterranean and numerous UNESCO world heritage sites.
Malta is a rich tapestry of cultures and traditions
Formed by its many historical rulers and influences, Malta is a rich tapestry of cultures and traditions, with classical and contemporary homes scattered throughout the island. Several new seafront complexes offer the range of modern luxury amenities while many older homes are prized for their unique architectural detail.
Foreign nationals are allowed to buy one property anywhere in Malta though in specially designated regions they may purchase additional properties. Several new and exclusive penthouse developments and the luxurious resort 'Three Villages' located in Sliema on the east coast are particularly attractive to foreign investors
France, Germany and the US are the top countries for foreign UHNW investments in Maltese property where the average listed price for homes over ?1m is around ?2.5m, while the median price per square metre is around ?6,500 in that price range.
Good long term investment opportunities
The report's findings show that Malta offers good long term investment opportunities. During 2014, market volatility in certain nations, particularly China, has led wealthy property buyers to seek homes in economically and politically stable locations like Malta, as a hedge against market instability at home. The report states that 'Malta's citizenship programme enhances the island's position as an attractive location for investment, especially as the EU is the most significant region of citizen application'.
Global citizenship is becoming an increasingly popular tool for the world's ultra-wealthy and Malta's citizenship programme enables foreign nationals to purchase a property anywhere across the island, although more than one property situated within Special Designated Areas (SDAs) can be bought. Most of the islands luxury lifestyle developments are located in prime, highly sought-after locations in the island's commerce, leisure and activity hubs.
Wealth-X President David Friedman commented: "Wealth-X is pleased to partner with Sotheby's International Realty brand for this third luxury real estate report for 2015. This new joint study explores the trend and home-buying motivations of a distinct group of ultra-wealthy individuals in the emerging markets. As their wealth grows, so will their investment fuelled by various motivations, be it to diversify their portfolio or to gain citizenship or residency in a foreign country".
According to Philip White, president and chief executive officer of Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates, the joint report provides an understanding of the trends driving buying decisions of the ultra-rich around the world. "The research reveals trends that go beyond traditional motivations and help guide real estate investments that contribute to long-term wealth", he said. "It underscores the important role real estate plays in a larger strategy to build a valuable asset portfolio".