Year Overview – The Year of 2014
Looking at past news, initiatives and milestones, we see where we have been, what we have done and hopefully also find some inspiration for things to come. It is beneficial for anyone to celebrate these past events of note, as it provides us with a road map of the steps we have taken to not only learn more, but to improve ourselves and to evolve to where we are today. We hope you will all enjoy this summary of the Year that was 2014!
Highlights of 2014
Frank Salt Real Estate Sponsors Valletta Exhibition in Paris
Frank Salt Real Estate was one of the main sponsors of the Reasonable Dreams Exhibition, held at La Galerie D’Architecture in Paris throughout the month of December and which ran till mid-January. The exhibition focused on Valletta, the Islands’ Capital city and European Capital of Culture for 2018.
It was conceived by Architecture Project (AP) and the exhibition was a thoughtful journey through the city’s transformation, linking past and future seamlessly around three main axes: historical dreams, realised dreams, and the fragmentation of time-space through artistic dreams.
The exhibition included drawings, models, video installations, sculptures and historical plans.
On the 10th January Frank Salt Real Estate also be hosted a seminar at the gallery focusing on Malta property and residency options.
Earlier that year, Frank Salt Real Estate also sponsored a concert by Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja and the symphonic orchestra Garde Republicaine which was held by the Maltese Embassy in Paris at the majestic Hotel des Invalides under the patronage of Claude Bartolone, the President of the Assemblée Nationale.
Las Vegas: Work Hard, Play Hard
Members from the Frank Salt Real Estate team returned from a fantastic trip to the glitzy American city of Las Vegas. The trip included brainstorming sessions, key meetings and planning exercises. Additionally, the team discussed how best to empower and assist the sales and letting consultants to become more effective and productive, and also shared ideas on how to think outside the box and be innovative within the ever-changing real estate field.
There was plenty of time for good old Las Vegas fun too and staff stayed at the world-famous MGM Grand, attending a dinner at fine-dining Asian restaurant and nightclub Hakassan, followed by an all-night party led by top DJs Nervo and Moby. Other once-in-a-lifetime activities included the National Rodeo Finals, exotic car driving, ‘insanity rides’ at the 909-feet Stratosphere Tower, shopping, sight-seeing and desert buggy racing.
Busy Start to the Year for Frank Salt Real Estate Overseas
Early in 2014 Frank Salt Real Estate was already waiving the Maltese flag in various countries, promoting the island’s allure to foreign nationals looking at buying property in Malta.
Together with leading company Architecture Projects and EMD Advisory, the company organised a Malta Day in Paris with an overwhelming response in terms of interest and attendance. This was followed by a similar seminar in Warsaw in collaboration with Malta’s Ambassador in Poland which included participation in a major international property show in Stockholm, Sweden and a number of activities targeting British and Russian markets.
Frank Salt Real Estate Confirmed as Official Sponsor of Kayak for Charity 2014
The Kayak for Charity 2014 team was in full drive training and prepared for the never-attempted round trip of Malta to Sicily in aid of Inspire, the Foundation for Inclusion. Supported and sponsored by Frank Salt Real Estate, the challenge translated to a course of more than 100 nautical miles (190 km). It was to be paddled non-stop by a two-man team consisting of Andrea Scorcia and Ian Laferla aboard a double kayak.
Benefitting charities included the Malta Cancer Foundation, Puttinu Cares, the Hospice Movement and the Angie Bajada Foundation. Funds collected totalled approximately €65,000.
Frank Salt Went Abseiling
Frank Salt Real Estate employees and consultants from all the company’s branches came together for a great outdoor adventure organised by the company as part of its annual Spring Team Building event. That year, the activities took place in Mtahleb where participants had to face several challenges, including abseiling, biking and other imaginative challenges that gave the various teams a good run for their money, both mentally and physically.
The event highlight was the abseiling session down the majestic Mtahleb cliffs to recover the treasure bounty and to complete the task at hand. The day was a resounding success for all of Frank Salt Real Estate’s employees.
Frank Salt Real Estate Announced Winners of “The Malta Summer” Facebook Competition
Frank Salt Real Estate announced the names of the lucky winners who took part in a Malta Summer Facebook photography competition launched by the company at the Mercedes Benz Malta Fashion Awards in May. Maria Pappova, the first prize winner, walked away with a stunning Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. Sascha Camilleri and Sefora Grech managed to grab the first and second runner up titles, and were treated to amazing gifts from Fino and Party 21 respectively.
The competition took place on Facebook, through which participants could post their favourite Summer photos depicting Malta’s scenic beauty and photos which got the largest number of Facebook LIKES and SHARES within a set time, were crowned as the winning entries. The winner portrayed a lovely sunset at Golden Bay, followed by a Malta cliffs landscape and a Senglea heritage picture.
Going That Extra Mile
The Fgura Branch Manager of Frank Salt Real Estate, Stanley Bonello and his colleagues explained what it took to be a cut above the rest.
Factors such as camaraderie and a great working relationship with one another, a fantastic team environment and being very professional and helpful were cited. Being of assistance and help to clients in any way, besides selling property, also got a mention. Teamwork was unanimously agreed upon as the secret of their success.
Frank Salt Real Estate Battled out Sliema ASC for a Water Polo Match
As part of a team building exercise, members of the Frank Salt Real Estate team took up a challenge that saw them trying their hand at water polo against the Sliema ASC committee members. The Frank Salt Real Estate team included Alan Agius, Ryan Delia, Ludwig Farrugia, Stefan Borg, Leonard Grech, Grahame Salt, Dylan Micallef, Patrick Xuereb and Jonathan Sammut.
The game was organised by Frank Salt Real Estate’s Marketing Division and the company’s team fell just short of winning in the last few crucial minutes.
The year also saw the company taking up main sponsorship of the Sliema ASC Water Polo Club for the second year.
Sicily Culinary and Wine Expedition
The management team from Frank Salt Real Estate, together with the company directors returned from a culinary expedition to Sicily, as part of a team building exercise.
Visits to eateries and wineries in Pozzallo, Taormina, Catania and Forza D’Agro were part of the trip.
Organised by the company’s HR Division, it tied in with the company’s 5 year strategic plan which incorporated opening up a number of additional branches and gradually doubling its staff complement.
Frank Salt Took Up Main Sponsorship of Phoenix Basketball Club
In its constant endeavours to support local sports associations, Frank Salt Real Estate confirmed their sponsorship of the Phoenix Basketball Club for the season 2014/15. Phoenix Basketball is part of Phoenix Sports Club, one of the largest sports entities in Malta with sports ranging from Basketball to Handball, Volleyball and Table Tennis. Frank Salt Real Estate supported the Phoenix’s senior men’s team who competed officially in local Basketball leagues as Phoenix Frank Salt Real Estate.
Frank Salt Expanded Internationally, Including China
Frank Salt Real Estate promoted the island’s allure to foreign nationals looking at buying property in Malta. This included the UK, Poland, Italy, France, Sweden and other European countries, China, South Africa and Russia. It also established representations in the UAE, India and the US.
Overseas initiatives covered participation in international property exhibitions, organising roadshows and seminars, sponsorship of Malta-related events in conjunction with Malta’s Embassies and other local companies and being present at a number of exhibitions in Beijing and Shanghai.
Frank Salt Real Estate Ltd Reconfirmed as Malta Best Real Estate Agency at The European Property Awards
Europe’s finest real estate agents, developers, architects and interior designers gathered at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, London, on Wednesday 15th October 2014 for the announcement of the winners of The European Property Awards.
Frank Salt Real Estate Limited was amongst Malta’s entries, with the company competing in the “Best Real Estate Agency” and “Best Lettings Agency” categories. Frank Salt Real Estate Limited was announced as the winner of both. The Company was also highly commended as “Best Lettings Agency” in Malta. The latter follows on its previous winning of the title as “Best Lettings Agency in Europe” in 2011!
The European Property Awards is the world’s most prestigious property competition and covers residential as well as commercial categories.
Leading the game
It’s the Sliema Branch that led the game at Frank Salt Real Estate in 2014. Of the fourteen branches that make up Malta’s longest established real estate company that year, the Sliema Branch, headed by manager George Vassallo, notched up the highest number of sales in 2014 – winning the prestigious award – again.
The office is at 201 Tower Road, Sliema and runs like a well-oiled machine. Back then ten property negotiators called this address their home. As a tight-knit team of women and men ranging from their early 60s to late 20s, they understand the market which they live and breathe in on a daily basis. Their mentor and motivator, George Vassallo, spoke extremely highly of them, claiming that they “never really switch off” and that “they carry with them a level of energy and dedication that fills the office, from early Monday mornings to late on Fridays, and weekends when necessary, with a constant buzz of activity, discussion and exchange of information, strategy and ideas.”
2014 was an excellent year for property sales in Malta and these people were the movers and the makers of the property market which was moving in an encouraging upward trend.
It was at this time that we saw the first time buyers’ market boom as a result of the First Time Buyer Scheme which effectively removed all stamp duty for this category of buyers on the first 150,000 euro as a one-year incentive. It reaped such good results that it was extended for a further six months. The removal of the usual 3.5% duty also stimulated this aspect of the market.
The top end of the market also moved well. The IP Scheme (Passport scheme) generated a new market of people who were looking to buy, as well as to rent some of the most prestigious properties in the North-Eastern side of the island.
In addition the middle market, which was quite stagnant for some years, also saw a rise.
In 2014, all the markets were moving including the rental market. The latter saw an influx of people moving to Malta to work in Financial Services, Gaming and other growing areas. Rentals saw a particular strong demand for higher end properties.
The Sliema branch manager explained the aspect of the profession very carefully saying at the time that, “we take valuing property very seriously – people need to approach a serious and experienced agent to get a real price for their property. Some agents tend to suggest frivolous prices to attract people to their property lists – only to request they reduce the initial asking price when these properties don’t move.”
Hard work and knowledge of real market conditions pay off in the long term – and testament to that is that Frank Salt Real Estate is the longest serving property consultant agency in Malta.
Record year for Frank Salt Real Estate
2014 was the best year ever for Frank Salt Real Estate, with an increase in sales revenue by 48%. This was reported during the company’s annual general conference, held earlier that month at the Corinthia St Georges Bay Hotel. All results for the year exceeded the targets set for the year, and 2015 was expected to be just as good a year.
In his opening statement, company chairman Frank Salt thanked all members of the Frank Salt Real Estate team for making it a record year for the company. Sales turnover saw an increase of 38%, a success story throughout the then 14 sales and letting branches of the company. The value of property sold also increased, and notwithstanding the increase in sales in the first time buyer market thanks to the government exemption on stamp duties, the company also expanded in other markets, including second time buyers, and the investment market, with an increase of 45% and 65% respectively over the previous year.
Another area that the company invested heavily in in 2014 was the permanent residency and citizenship market. Efforts paid off, as sales to these clients increased by 80%.
47% of the sales concluded in 2014 by Frank Salt Real Estate were to foreign buyers. It went to show the substantial market share that the company had that year within the foreign market, thanks to its efforts to promote Malta overseas and online.
2014 was also a record year for Frank Salt Real Estate’s letting division, which saw an increase in revenue of 30% and 26% increase in number of leases.
One of the main objectives for 2015 was for the company to attract quality properties for sale and to let. With the then current demand level, the company already offered a good selection of properties however it was looking at registering even more, offering its clients as vast a choice as possible.
During the Annual General Conference, it was announced that Rita Schembri was taking on the role as the new Commercial Property Manager, in line with the company’s strategy to expand its commercial property division.
Sliema branch was announced as Frank Salt Real Estate’s Best Branch for 2014, whilst John Middleton from the St Paul’s Bay branch and Edward Aquilina from the Sliema Letting branch were awarded as Best Sales and Letting consultants respectively.
Given that 2014 was a record year in sales, indications showed that buyer confidence was still very high and would remain so throughout that year. Other than the first time buyer’s scheme, which was no longer available after June of that year, the other factors were still positive determining factors in the year’s market performance. It was expected that the second buyer market, as well as ‘buy to let’ market, local and foreign, would continue to grow. In 2014 the average earnings for sales consultants also went up by 31%.
Darren De Domenico was appointed as Chief Operations Officer and took over management of branch and division operations from that year.