Malta is situated about fifty miles south of Sicily in the Mediterranean. It is a small archipelago that flaunts a pleasant climate, world-class healthcare, and English-speaking denizens. Malta is also home to some of the world’s best diving destinations and has been garnering a reputation as the preferred tourist destination for many in the EU and outside.
The popular destinations in Malta include the bustling port city and capital of Valletta, home to beautiful biblical architecture, a lively pedestrian shopping area, excellent restaurants, and an international society. Its exceptional medieval cityscape and beautiful flagstone paths are reminiscent of the 16th century.
Malta may be the tiniest nation in the European Union, but it is home to vintage centuries-old towns with every contemporary utility, year-round cultural activities and attractions, a large foreign community, and an affordable, relaxed lifestyle. Best of all, despite the climate of continental Europe, the island is mostly English-speaking.
Malta Cost Of Living
Malta’s standard of living depends on the specific area, however, according to studies, the cost of living in Malta is approximately 10 percent cheaper than the U.S. and rents are typically 35 percent lower. When compared with the U.K., cost of living is 12 percent lower, with rents nearly 25 percent lower on average.
In comparison to Romania or rural Italy, Malta may seem expensive, especially in the central cities rather than other less posh areas.
The cost of living in Malta can be broadly based on the following aspects:
Prices for utilities are straightforward in Malta, with research estimating that electricity, heating, water and gas will cost around €68 a month.
- Electricity & water: Bills usually come every other month, with power and water on the same bill. Invoices can be paid using multiple options such as direct debit set up with the local bank; online via credit card or on the website; or paid at the local post office via cash or credit card.
- Waste: Regional councils deal with waste removal, and there are no costs related to this. All localities offer bulky refuse disposal services free of charge.
- Gas: A 15 kg gas cylinder costs around €19.50, which typically lasts two-three months if used for cooking for a nuclear family. Electric substitutes for heaters and cookers can be used to avoid purchasing gas.
- Communication: The key providers in Malta are Melita and GO; they both offer quick links and combo packages which include internet, TV, and phone services. Malta Communications Authority provides information on how to choose a provider and service plan. An e-residence card is required to set up an account. An installation fee and deposit needs to be paid, which are expensive in the absence of an e-residence card. Vodafone, Melita and GO are the key players in the mobile phone space, providing offers such as ‘pay as you go’ or monthly plans. Sim cards are also available in a wide range of shops. The cheapest options start with around €20 a month but with data, international calls, and other services, it will cost more. All service providers tend to equip their users with an online portal where they can view invoices, history of transactions, request customer support, and pay their bills.
The standard of living in Malta also depends on the kind of schooling one selects for the children. There are various schools to opt from.
- State School: The state school system is free including the textbooks and payments only need to be made for the uniforms, stationery, and school trips. There is one state primary school in most municipalities and larger villages across the country. Secondary schools are usually only in bigger towns.
- Church School: Church schools are also free but require contributions from parents, which have gone up in the past few years. The costs can range between €150 – €600 a year per child. They are generally single-sex only, although there have been efforts to make them co-educational. These church schools have admissions based on a ballot system only. As per the law, anyone, including non-Catholics or even non-Christians, can enroll to attend the schools. Nevertheless, they do tend to have a long waiting list and give priority to siblings of kids already attending the school. Church schools normally use English as the chosen language for education and writing.
- Private School: Private schools charge a considerable fee, and use English as their medium of communication, over Maltese. These schools serve as a good option if a child is starting a new school in a foreign language. Fees range around €3,666 per annum, but differ considerably between schools.
Transportation to School: There is a complimentary bus service for state school children. A few Church schools offer transportation at about €600 a year. Private schools also provide bus services against an additional fee.
- Buying a Property In Malta
The property market in Malta is an attractive investment destination. Since the last decade, the average prices have risen considerably, however, first-time buyers have the benefit of partial exemption from stamp duty.
Expenses involved in purchasing real estate can be identified as the following:
- Estate Agent vs Own Sale: Private sales are conventional in Malta, as estate agents take a cut of up to 5 percent from the merchant. While an agent can help find your dream property, it’s possible to find a home independently as well, which can reduce the total cost of ownership.
- Notaries: To buy property in Malta, the candidate needs a notary who will check the title, verify the property does not have any legitimate issues that could prevent its sale, and prepare a report accordingly. The notary is a government officer and should be an independent third party. Notary fees are between 1-3 percent of the buying price.
- Ground Rent: Ground rent is due when a different person occupies the ground that the building is standing on. An annual fee would have to be paid to the owner of the land, as well as a recognition fee of a year’s worth of ground rent when purchased.
- Stamp Duty: Stamp duty is a fee which is given to the government when buying a property. Usually, it is about 5 percent of the purchase price. To help first-time buyers, the government has spared them from stamp duty on the first €150,000, potentially saving them €5,250. EU citizens who plan to reside in the property pay 3.5 percent stamp duty on the first €150,000.
- Duty on Documents: One has to pay 1 percent of the purchase price as this tax.
- Bank Charges: There are also some bank fees to be paid, totalling to almost €800. Some banks repay a portion of these fees on the final contract.
- Architect Fees: To approve a bank loan, the candidate has to receive a property go-ahead from a qualified architect. They typically carry out a site investigation and fill in the forms needed by the bank. There is no standard fees prescribed for this process, so it is suggested to look around and consult multiple firms before deciding on one architect.
- Renting a Property
There is always the more convenient option of renting a property, instead of purchasing one. Renting a property is pretty hassle-free in Malta. Apartments of both kinds are available: – furnished and unfurnished.
Consider the following factors when looking to rent in Malta:
- Finding a property: Localities to rent: Rents differ from expensive in plush societies like Portomaso or Madliena Village, to very cheap for older, smaller apartments in the North and South of the country or Gozo.
- Make use of an estate agent or contact owners directly as that is more beneficial, and comfortable for expats having limited local knowledge. They show multiple properties, giving you choices, and help decide the best one to rent. They can also help determine whether to opt for a village or a town based on your preferences or work situation.
- Hunt for the right agent and be clear about the budget. Agents fees are usually half a month’s rent plus taxes, which both the tenant and owner will have to pay. Alternatively, it’s possible to save some cash and find a place independently. Look out for ‘for rent’ signs on houses or apartments, or check out the classified advertisements in the local newspapers. The standard of living in Malta is heavily dependent on the kind of property chosen.
- To begin renting, a tenancy agreement must be signed and the first month’s rent and a deposit fee has to be paid to the landlord. To get back the deposit, take pictures of the place when moving in and get a signed inventory of the contents and the state of the rental property.
- Public Transport
The green and white buses are the primary sources of public transport in Malta. These buses are environmentally friendly, wheelchair accessible, and comfortably air-conditioned. They are operated in Malta by Malta Public Transport.
- Bus Tickets & Fares: A single journey ticket including an interchange costs approximately €1.50 in winter, €2.00 in summer, and €3.00 at night. To commute daily, it’s recommended to buy a tallinja card, which gives reduced prices and can be topped up with extra credit. There are separate rates for children, students, and Gozo residents.
- Taxi: There are two types of taxis – white and black. White taxis can pick up passengers anywhere and use a meter. Black taxis, on the other hand, need to be booked well in advance by phone or online, but are often less expensive than the white taxis. Taxis from the airport impose a fixed fare.
Uber is not available in Malta, but one can find many local taxi companies to get to your destination, providing a different fleet of cars. Most offer a fare calculator on their website, and some also take online bookings.
- Driving in Malta
Similar to most European and Asian countries, driving in Malta is left-handed. Driving is allowed for twelve months if the licence is from outside the European Union, after which the law requires enrollment for a Maltese license which will last for ten years. The cost of renewal is €80.00, and €29.25 for people in their 70s and above. A litre of petrol costs around €1.30.
- Buying a car: The standard of living in Malta is also obviously dependent on one’s habits and expenses. One example of this would be your choice of car. To purchase a car, ownership needs to be transferred online. The seller, buyer, and a witness must sign the back of the vehicle registration document and show it to an authorised insurance agency. The fees, fines, and other charges that are applicable are paid at this point, after which the broker will issue a new certificate in the name of the owner. For this process to happen, the candidate must possess a valid ID card.
- Importing a car: To import a vehicle, the candidate must pay a registration tax. If the car is from the non-EU countries, VAT is additionally applicable.
- Car insurance: Car insurance is mandatory. The prices of car insurance vary massively depending on several factors, including age, the type of car, and on the type of coverage the applicant is seeking.
- Motorbikes and mopeds are the best way to beat the traffic and vehicles which are environmentally friendly are promoted by the Maltese government with special schemes.
- Common Good Price
Below is a helpful chart that shows the cost of basic goods to give a better idea of Malta cost of living. The price may vary depending on the city.
|Basic lunchtime menu which includes a drink, in the business district||€ 14|
|Combo meal at a fast food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar)||€ 8|
|500 gr (1 lb.) of chicken breast||€ 3.81|
|1 litre (1 qt.) of whole fat milk||€ 0.89|
|12 eggs, large||€ 2.67|
|1 kg (2 lb.) of tomatoes||€ 2.48|
|500 gr (16 oz.) of local cheese||€ 10|
|1 kg (2 lb.) of apples||€ 2.50|
|1 kg (2 lb.) of potatoes||€ 1.37|
|0.5 l (16 oz) domestic beer||€ 1.44|
|1 bottle of red table wine||€ 7|
|2 litres of Coca-Cola||€ 1.78|
|Internet 8 Mbps (1 month)||€ 27|
|40” flat screen TV||€ 350|
|Microwave 800/900 Watt||€ 109|
|Laundry detergent (3 l. ~ 100 oz.)||€ 9|
|Hourly rate for cleaning help||€ 7|
|1 pair of Levis jeans||€ 75|
|1 dress in a High Street Store like Zara||€ 32|
|1 pair of sport shoes from Adidas||€ 88|
|1 pair of men’s leather business shoes||€ 96|
|1 litre (1/4 gallon) of gas||€ 1.35|
|Monthly ticket public transport||€ 26|
|Cold medicine||€ 5.76|
|1 box of antibiotics (12 doses)||€ 20|
|Short visit to private Doctor (15 minutes)||€ 34|
|1 box of 32 tampons||€ 3.74|
|Deodorant, roll-on (50ml ~ 1.5 oz.)||€ 4.30|
|Hair shampoo 2-in-1 (400 ml ~ 12 oz.)||€ 4.54|
|4 rolls of toilet paper||€ 1.63|
|Tube of toothpaste||€ 2.92|
|Standard men’s haircut||€ 11|
|Basic dinner For Two||€ 31|
|2 tickets to the movies||€ 16|
|Three-course dinner for two at a restaurant||€ 48|
|1 cocktail drink in downtown club||€ 7|
|Cappuccino in expat area of the city||€ 2.25|
|1 beer (around 500ml)||€ 3.20|
|iPad Wi-Fi 128GB||€ 634|
|1 min. of prepaid mobile tariff (no discounts or plans)||€ 0.25|
|1 month of gym subscription||€ 49|
Affordable Luxury Malta
One may think that living on a gorgeous sun-soaked Mediterranean island is something only the rich can afford, but that’s not so in Malta. Some retired expats say that Malta cost of living can sum up to as little as $2,600 or less per month.
According to the Malta standard of living, a furnished two-bedroom residence, just a 10-minute walk from the sea, can cost as little as $550 per month. A furnished two-bedroom with an ocean view would cost around $1,100 per month. Prices decrease for apartments inland or on the smaller island of Gozo.
Monthly groceries, eating out, and other everyday expenses cost far less than the other European countries.
Malta is a small-sized island, but its extensive and affordable transportation system allows expats to live happily car-free, saving money on car payments, coverage, and garage costs. Eventually, the cost of living in Malta depends upon the person and their way of living, but will still be very affordable, making Malta an ideal destination to build a second home!
Let our experts guide you through the citizenship by investment process, to find the best match for your needs. Register with us now!