How to buy property in Malta as a foreigner, including house prices, getting a mortgage and tips for finding your dream home.
Although Malta is the smallest country in the EU, it’s nothing short of fascinating. First and foremost, it’s an archipelago consisting of 21 beautiful islands surrounded by the Mediterranean sea. Staying there equals basking in ancient architecture, fresh seafood, and many hours of sunshine. Along with the laid-back view on life that the locals have, it’s almost like being on an endless vacation.
The year-round warm weather unfortunately doesn’t pay the bills. So, how expensive is Malta? How much money do you need for a comfortable lifestyle?
If you want to relocate for good, enjoy your retirement, or just spend some time there, you might want to know the cost of living in Malta, which we’ll cover below. We’ll also highlight a smart way to keep down the costs of currency exchange, with a free online multi-currency account from Wise.
Ever since it entered the EU, the official currency in Malta has been the euro. Its symbol is € or EUR. The currency values constantly change, but here’s the approximate value of the euro in comparison to other currencies at the time of writing:
$1000 = 854 €
£1000 = 1,104 €
A$1000 = 612 €
The mid-market exchange rate is the fairest one there is, since it’s the rate the market naturally sets. It has no hidden charges, unlike the rates banks and money transfer services provide. It’s also the rate Wise gives you.
To make sure you get the most of your money in Malta, try to stay up-to-date with the current mid-market exchange rate. It will allow you to see what exactly you’re paying for when using money exchange services.
Banks and money exchange services use the mid-market rate when they trade with each other. But, they often add a markup for their regular customers so they could make profits. Unlike them, Wise offers the mid-market exchange rate to everyone, which results in complete transparency and no hidden fees.
Sending money worldwide has never been easier with Wise’s Borderless multi-currency account. You can use up to 50 different currencies at the same time and easily convert to the local one with a low and transparent fee.
So, is Malta cheap to live in? Here’s the deal. If you’re used to UK prices, Malta will be noticeably more affordable. Rent prices in central London are at least twice the price of those in Valletta. In fact, the Maltese capital is cheaper than most Western European capitals.
Let’s take a look at some key costs across major UK cities, compared with Malta.
|Comparing basic cost of living||1 bedroom flat in city centre (monthly rent)||Meal for 2 (mid-range restaurant, three courses)||Transportation (monthly pass)|
|London, UK¹||1,909 €||66 €||165 €|
|Manchester, UK²||908 €||66 €||77 €|
|Edinburgh, UK³||887 €||66 €||62 €|
|Valletta, Malta⁴||1,073 €||60 €||29 €|
|Gozo, Malta⁵||536 €||50 €||15 €|
|Qormi, Malta⁶||550 €||50 €||26 €|
Malta doesn’t have cities that are major in size, but that doesn’t mean they leave any less of an impression. A good example is Valletta, the capital of Malta and one of its most important ports. Valletta is one of the rare cases of an entire city being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Considering its size, it’s incredibly vibrant and full of landmarks and also one of the best spots for expats.
St. Julian’s is a good destination for night owls and social butterflies. Bars, restaurants, and nightclubs are open until the late hours and the city’s home to a couple of festivals. There are great scuba diving spots around St. Julian’s too.
Sliema and Gzira are located near St. Julian’s. Sliema is an energetic spot that’s also one of the most popular tourist and expat locations. Gzira is a bit more peaceful, but still well connected to the capital and the surrounding islands. However, both are blessed with the signature Maltese architecture.
|Total living expenses in Valletta⁴||Average cost|
|1 person, per month (without rent)||807 €|
|4 person family, per month (without rent)||2,943 €|
|Utilities, basic, for 85m² apartment||101 €|
|Total living expenses in Sliema⁷||Average cost|
|1 person, per month (without rent)||781 €|
|4 person family, per month (without rent)||2,857 €|
|Utilities, basic, for 85m² apartment||94 €|
|Total living expenses in Gzira⁸||Average cost|
|1 person, per month (without rent)||856 €|
|4 person family, per month (without rent)||3,143 €|
|Utilities, basic, for 85m² apartment||101 €|
In 2019, the average Maltese wages were around half the EU average.⁹ Considering that the cost of living in Malta is lower than in many EU countries, these salaries can still ensure a comfortable life.
The following chart shows average annual salaries for certain positions in Malta.
|Salary averages for Valletta¹⁰||Average salary|
|Graphic designer||14,813 €|
|Financial analyst||20,484 €|
|Salary averages for Sliema¹¹||Average salary|
|Office manager||25,000 €|
|Operations manager||39,000 €|
|Web developer¹²||37,000 €|
|Content writer||27,000 €|
Rent is one of the biggest monthly expenses, but it never reaches big European city prices. Its cost mainly depends on the distance from the city center and the beach.
|Rental cost in Valletta¹³||Average monthly cost|
|Large apartment||1,189 €|
|Medium apartment||1,018 €|
|Small apartment||772 €|
|Rental cost in Gozo⁵||Average monthly cost|
|Large apartment||886 €|
|Small apartment||536 €|
Malta is known for having a great healthcare system that’s available to every resident. To put it another way, to everyone who has lived there over three months. Holders of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can also get necessary care until they get their residence.¹⁴ Most services are free of charge.
You can get emergency dental treatments for free in hospitals, but everything else needs to be paid for.
People usually use buses for travelling to other cities. The public bus system can get you pretty much anywhere you want to go, unless you want to travel between islands. The monthly pass in Valletta costs less than 30€.⁴
There’s a regular ferry service between Malta and Gozo, as well as some other destinations.¹⁶
Many residents go everywhere by car, even though the distances are not long. If you plan on driving in Malta, you’ll be happy to know that they also drive on the left side of the road!¹⁷ But, the gas prices there are very steep.¹⁸
Besides Maltese, English is an official language too, so there’s a variety of programs suitable for English speakers. However, Maltese universities can’t be found on the Shanghai ranking of world universities list.¹⁹
The most prominent educational institution is the University of Malta in Msida. There’s an abundance of programs, including finance, architecture, dentistry, and history of art.
When it comes to postgraduate studies, tuition fees exist for everyone, but they're much lower for those that come from the EU.²⁰
The process of moving and readjusting can be financially exhausting. The best option for avoiding money transfer expenses is using Wise. Top up your account in pounds and convert to EUR using the mid-market exchange rate. Quickly, easily, and with no hidden fees to worry about.
Sure, the cost of living in Malta is rather low compared to EU countries and the UK. But, that doesn’t mean you should get ripped off. Try Wise today and say goodbye to expensive currency conversions.
- Numbeo - cost of living in London
- Numbeo - cost of living in Manchester
- Numbeo - cost of living in Edinburgh
- Numbeo - cost of living in Valletta
- Numbeo - cost of living in Gozo
- Numbeo - cost of living in Qormi
- Numbeo - cost of living in Sliema
- Numbeo - cost of living in Gzira
- Times of Malta
- Teleport - salaries in Valletta
- Cost of living - Sliema
- PayScale - salaries in Sliema
- Teleport - cost of living in Valletta
- Expat Assure - healthcare and health insurance in Malta
- Expat - healthcare system in Malta
- Gozo Channel - ferry service
- Visit Malta - driving in Malta
- Times of Malta - Malta’s gas costs
- Shanghai ranking of world universities
- University of Malta - tuition fees
All sources checked on October 5, 2020
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