Malta is the flavour of the month for South Africans for offshore property investments and second residency. More so, as you can gain Eurozone access through its sought-after Citizenship by Investment Programme, says Lance Cohen, a director with Seeff Atlantic Seaboard.
A growing number of South Africans are looking to buy their way into foreign citizenship or residency, according to global citizenship and residence advisory firm, Henley & Partners, who indicated recently that there was a 229% increase in the number of applications during 2018 compared to 2017.
Henley & Partners said that most well healed South Africans are looking to get their second citizenship in Malta – with Cyprus and Moldova also named as popular options.
The latest Knight Frank LLP Global House Price Index puts Malta at the top of the global price growth rankings for the three months to June with year-on-year growth of 17%.
The island experienced robust economic growth of 6.6% last year and while slowing to around 4.4% for the first part of this year, is still regarded as a buoyant business and growth environment with an excellent investment climate, said Seeff.
It is just a quick ferry hop or regional flight from the mainland. It is a Mediterranean island destination which offers a fabulous lifestyle for holiday and residential buyers and reported record tourist arrivals of 2.3 million in 2017, 16% up on the previous year with tourism expenditure of EUR1.9 billion, 14% up year-on-year, said Cohen.
There are strong property investment opportunities for foreigners in Malta, costing from around R3 million-R4 million, whether as a second or holiday home, but also as a rental investment given the high demand for residential rentals from a large expat base as well as holiday lets.
However, if you want to obtain residency in Malta, it will cost considerably more, Seeff warned.
You would need to invest in property of around R5.8 million (EUR 350,000) and also pay around R500,000 (EUR30,000) for the residency and invest R2.5 million (EUR150,000) into government bonds which you have to hold for five years.
Citizenship costs upward of R10.6 million (EUR 650,000) to around R16.5 million EUR1 million) for a family of five.
A Malta passport however, is highly sought-after as you get visa-free travel to 173 countries including the EU and USA and full rights as any EU citizen to live, work and study anywhere in the EU.
Conditions apply, including completing a twelve month residency before being eligible for citizenship; again subject to certain conditions, Seeff said.
Cohen said that further that demand for second residency options and offshore property investments, especially those offering excellent investment potential as Malta, has risen notably over the last year.