Buying property in Malta is a smart investment as the country’s real estate sector continues to grow. Amid the range of properties available on the island are the so-called Special Designated Areas (SDA). These zones typically comprise recent developments, built to a high standard, with a luxury finish and served with leisure facilities and even concierges. They are also typically located in the most sought-after parts of the island. So what makes SDAs so special and which SDA locations do you have to choose from?
What is an SDA?
A Special Designated Area (SDA) is a particular status that is granted to a development of apartments, houses, villas, and penthouses within Malta or Gozo. Under the terms of the status, the houses can be purchased by both EU and non-EU citizens without the need for an AIP permit. This means the individual can purchase as many homes as they wish, and they can also rent it out as they deem fit, without any issues. These developments are extremely popular, not merely due to the administrative benefits. They are predominantly high-end, luxurious complexes that are in desirable areas served by many amenities. Most offer resident-only swimming pools, gyms, parking, security and CCTV, shops, and car-free zones. Properties in SDAs provide a smart investment, a superior standard of living, and impeccable and stylish surroundings in Malta’s most sought-after areas.
|Maltese and EU Citizens with 5 years continuous residence in Malta||Maltese and EU Citizens without five years continuous residence in Malta||Non-Maltese and Non-EU Citizens|
|Primary Residence||No restrictions, no need for permit||No restrictions, no need for permit||Prior authorisation required|
|Secondary Residence or other immovable property||No restrictions, no need for permit||Prior authorisation is required||Prior authorisation is required|
|Property in SDA||No prior authorisation required. No limit||No prior authorisation required. No limit||No prior authorisation required. No limit|
|Immovable property for business activities or supply of services||No prior authorisation required. No limit||No prior authorisation required. No limit||No permit granted unless for industrial or touristic project or as a contributor to the development of the Maltese economy|
What is an AIP Permit?
An Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) permit is a document issued by the Maltese authorities. For non-Maltese citizens, either EU or non-EU, this permit is required before property in Malta and Gozo can be purchased. However, if the property is in an SDA area, there is no need for a permit. This means the buyer can purchase multiple properties in an SDA area without the need for any additional paperwork, making an investment much more straightforward.
Citizenship by Investment
It is possible to acquire residence or citizenship in Malta by means of completing an application and meeting several financial obligations, due diligence, and investment obligations. These may include leasing a property or purchasing a property of a specific value and holding it for at least five years. Buying or renting a property in an SDA area can contribute to the satisfaction of criteria under such programmes.
List of SDA Areas
Portomaso Development and Extension 1, St Julians, Malta
Portomaso is known as one of Malta’s most exclusive and luxury addresses, situated in the heart of St Julians. It is surrounded by a yacht marina, some of the island’s finest restaurants, and a selection of high-end boutiques and other retail outlets.
Cottonera Development, Cottonera, Malta
The Cottonera Development sits in the historic Three Cities region, consisting of Vittoriosa (Birgu), Senglea (L-Isla), and Cospicua (Bormla). This location offers access to the Grand Harbour Marina, fine dining, history, and crucial transport links to Valletta, the airport and beyond.
Tigne Point, Sliema, Malta
One of the most sought-after addresses in Malta, Tigne Point offers stunning apartments on a peninsula overlooking the Mediterranean and the capital city of Valletta. Situated in Sliema, this location provides easy access to the island’s best shops, restaurants, and nightlife. There are also various health facilities in the complex and swimming zones.
Tas-Sellum Residence, Mellieha, Malta
Tas-Sellum is situated just a stone’s throw away from one of Malta’s few and finest sandy beaches in Mellieha. The apartments provide both sea and country views. It offers car-free zones, three large swimming pools, and an extensive underground garage network. It is also flanked by 17,000 square metres of landscaped grounds and gardens.
Madliena Village, Madliena, Malta
Madliena Village is a luxurious gated community just a few kilometres from St Julians. Nestled among rolling hills, it provides a tranquil Mediterranean lifestyle and the seashore is just a few minutes’ walk away. This gated community enjoys a large communal swimming pool, underground parking, and landscaped private grounds.
Smart City, Kalkara, Malta
Smart City sits just 20 minutes from the airport, outside Kalkara in the south of Malta. The complex is home to several tech-based businesses and innovators and restaurants, cocktail bars and other leisure facilities. The complex offers stunning views of the coast and shops and amenities are within walking distance.
Fort Cambridge Zone, Sliema, Malta
Situated on the Tigne Peninsula, Fort Cambridge offers purpose-built, sea-facing apartments finished to high standards and offering stunning ocean views. Located on what was once a fort, the apartments, penthouses, and duplexes provide residents with a safe and stylish environment, with close proximity to the top shops and eateries the island has to offer.
Ta’ Monita Residence, Marsaskala, Malta
The town of Marsascala sits on the southern coast of Malta, just minutes from the airport and the capital city of Valletta. Ta’ Monita boasts a stunning private pool but it is also located a mere five minute away from the seafront, which is popular both for swimming and walking. It enjoys shops within the complex, landscaped walkways, and an enclave of serenity, perched on the hillside.
Pendergardens, St Julians, Malta
Located in St Julians, Pendergardens provides a mix of modern and contemporary living with open spaces and spacious living quarters. It enjoys a communal piazza, easy access to the beach, cultural centres, tourist attractions, and high-end restaurants and shops.
Mercury Towers, St Julian’s, Malta
Designed by the world-famous Zaha Hadid Architects, Mercury Towers introduces an entirely new lifestyle concept to Malta in the centre of Paceville. It rises to 33 floors, offers underground parking, and includes the restored 19-century Mercury House and a five-star hotel. Apartments benefit from a 24-hour concierge, security, cleaning, maintenance, a rooftop garden, and the option for apartment servicing. It also features a gym, running track, restaurant, rooftop bar and swimming pools.
Fort Chambray, Ghajnsielem, Gozo
This historic fortress was initially built by the Knights of St John. But today, it has been lovingly restored and transformed into high-end apartments and penthouses. Situated on the peaceful island of Gozo, Fort Chambray offers secluded peace and calm, flanked by stunning gardens and a private pool.
Kempinski Residences, San Lawrenz, Gozo
Also situated on the island of Gozo, Kempinksi Residences provides villas and apartments with both private and serviced options available. Residents can enjoy a concierge service, spa, meeting spaces, private leisure facilities, and a breathtaking design in luxurious surroundings.
Vista Point, Marsalforn, Gozo
Vista Point is situated a stone’s throw away from one of Gozo’s most popular resorts and right next to the beach. It offers spectacular views of both the ocean and the surrounding countryside. There are apartments of every size, all finished to a high standard.
Quad Business Towers, Mriehel, Malta
For those looking for a smart, cosmopolitan lifestyle in the centre of Malta, The Quad is the ideal solution. A mixed use of residential and business development, it provides a range of apartments, all situated amid a spacious landscaped outdoor area and several piazzas. Living here provides residents with easy access to high-end amenities, transport links, and leisure facilities.
Southridge, Mellieha, Malta
Situated in the north of Malta, 400 metres from the centre of Mellieha, Southridge offers a range of different sized apartments and penthouses, each finished to a luxury standard. The development offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside, private access, and an underground carpark. There are fine dining restaurants nearby as well as shops, bars, and the beach.
There are several other projects in the pipeline that have been designated as Special Designated Areas.
Buying in an SDA
For those wishing to purchase a property in an SDA, regardless of whether they are Maltese citizens, EU citizens, or non-EU citizens, no restrictions reply. There is no need to get a permit or to apply for any form of authorisation. Additionally, there is no minimum or maximum limit regarding the purchase price. Investors are free to buy as many SDA properties as possible.
In contrast, foreign citizens may be required to apply for a permit or to meet certain requirements in order to purchase a property outside the SDA. They may also be limited in the number of properties they can purchase.
Renting an SDA
When a non-Maltese citizen purchases a property outside an SDA with a permit, they may also be limited as to whether they can rent it out. However, if they buy properties inside an SDA, they can rent them out as they deem fit. Furthermore, renting a property in Malta is taxed at a fixed rate of 15%. As SDA properties are highly-sought after, this can provide a lucrative source of revenue for investors.