There are many reasons why a house is an appealing option when looking to buy property. Whereas, in an apartment, you may have to worry about noise from your neighbours above and below, in your own house you can be assured of peace and quiet around you. Furthermore, the whole building is your own so, building regulations aside, you have far more scope to adapt and develop your home according to your tastes. Finally, the additional space that almost always comes with owning a house is hugely beneficial, and the ability to group your space by floor – conventionally with living rooms on one floor and bedrooms on another – allows you to create a home that suits every occupant’s needs.
In Malta, there are a variety of different houses available on the market and these have very different features according to their type. When looking to buy property on the archipelago of Malta and Gozo, it is worth understanding the differences between them and knowing where they each can be found.
A house of character will boast traditional Maltese architecture and original features. This means that it may have some or all of the following: old stone, arches, troughs, courtyards, patterned tiles and Maltese balconies. Some houses of character in Malta are more than 500 years old and they can be found in villages across Malta and Gozo, but perhaps the most famously (and expensively) in the Three Villages, Zebbug, Siggiewi and in the South.
There has been, for the past 30 years, a burgeoning interest in buying and converting these old houses of character. There are a great many extremely well-converted examples across both Malta and Gozo, however there are others requiring reconversion by their present owners.
These are special houses with a great deal of history and tradition within their walls. As such, they are very much in-demand and tend to sell extremely quickly if introduced to the market – making them an excellent investment for your property portfolio.
The majority of Maltese townhouses are pre- or post-war, and are particularly characteristic of certain localities such as Sliema. They will feature classic Maltese design features such as the Maltese balcony and patterned tiles.
Maltese townhouses are characterised by limestone facades and painted wooden doors, windows and balconies. They often sport wrought-iron gates and usually have a plaque near the door number showing a religious saint or similar. Inside, the colourful patterned tiles that are synonymous with the Maltese Islands will usually be present, and there may well be a charming back garden with, if you are lucky, a well.
Due to the boom in development in Malta, townhouses are less and less common than they used to be, with double-fronted townhouses even rarer still.
Terraced houses are homes on multiple levels, which are attached on both sides to other buildings. They may well have a front porch, as well as a garden or courtyard. By definition, they are not the same as a townhouse as they are more recent builds and therefore do not usually feature traditional elements such as a Maltese balcony.
Terraced houses often date to the 1970s and 80s as, more recently, there has been a trend towards apartment blocks due to space restrictions. Because they own their own airspace, these townhouses are generally fairly large and often have an underlying or side garage. There is a range of architectural styles to choose from in this category, dependent on the age of the building.
Farmhouses in Malta and Gozo have not necessarily been inhabited by a farmer for a great many years. Often, today, these houses will have once been part of a farm but now fall within a local village or on its outskirts.
Maltese farmhouses can date back several hundred years but many have been rediscovered and renovated in recent decades. Often, despite modernisation, they will still boast features such as drinking troughs for animals, birthing rooms, patterned tiles and wooden beams, which belie their special and unique origins.
Farmhouses, especially those with space for a pool, were extremely popular in the 90s, and this generated some very poorly finished examples, as well as a lull in the market due to an oversupply of good renovations. Recently, though, the farmhouse property market has stabilised and better quality examples are regularly available. If you find a farmhouse in your budget, it could make the ideal investment, with plenty of potential for renovation and resale.
A Maltese villa is, by definition, a large, luxurious house sitting in its own grounds.
The ‘villa’ is actually a Roman architectural creation and Malta boasts our very own example, referred to as Domvs Romana, situated outside the walls of the Silent City, Mdina and dating back to the 2nd Century BC. This historical edifice is a national heritage site and is a popular place to visit for locals and tourists alike.
Roman villas apart, the older villas on the island are more often referred to as palazzos, so when one speaks of villas, it is generally understood that one is referring to a building dating back no further than the 1960s.
Villas in Malta and Gozo are typically fully-detached and built on more than one storey. They offer large amounts of space surrounding them, and often boast swimming pools, decks, landscaped gardens and space for entertainment. Inside, many enjoy a wide range of modern luxuries, including home cinemas, spacious kitchens and a large number of bedrooms. There are high maintenance costs attached to such properties but, on the plus side, the level of comfort and space for family and guests is a huge bonus.
Certain parts of Malta are particularly well known for villas. One of the most sought after areas is in the Swieqi district, most notably in the towns of Madliena and High Ridge. Property prices are notably higher here, as these villas boast sea or country views but with a special suburban feel. Many expatriates, wealthy individuals and dignitaries live in these northeastern towns.
Inland, there are examples of stunning villas in Attard, Naxxar and Rabat. In the south, they are to be found in Tarxien, Gudja, Qrendi, Safi and Zurrieq. There are also sought-after examples in Pembroke, Ta’ Xbiex, Kappara and Mosta.
The Bugibba waterfront, the Marsascala waterfront, Xemxija and Mellieha are also worth considering if you are looking for a seafront villa with exceptional views of the shore and beyond.
Need more advice about finding the perfect house on the Maltese Islands? Reach out to the team at RE/MAX Malta