In the past, the Three Cities, namely Vittoriosa (Birgu), Cospicua (Bormla) and Senglea (Isla) were the pride of Malta. The wealthiest residents lived in these areas and they enjoyed a high standard of living. However, the war targeted the Three Cities heavily, which led to destruction and turmoil and in turn, the residents fled from their homes to safer areas such as their summer homes in locations such as Sliema.
Further down the line, Cottonera became known for its low rental properties and people were only interested in the area for its cheap accommodation, completely ignoring the fact that these localities are home to some of the most beautiful historic buildings on the island.
After experiencing a significant decline, heads have been turned towards reinstating the Three Cities and bringing them back to their former glory. A major regeneration scheme has seen the refurbishment of many historic buildings, the Vittoriosa (Birgu) waterfront and improvements to accessibility and transport links.
According to Paul Bondin and Albert Buhagiar, two of Frank Salt Real Estate’s top consultants at the Fgura branch, this increased interest in the Three Cities has led to plenty of investment by the Government and future planned projects in the area are set to augment property value at a rate which will be more pronounced than that of the rest of the island. In fact, Frank Salt Real Estate will be launching three new branches, one of which will be located in the Cottonera district.
“Investing in property in The Three Cities is definitely a wise decision as it is recognised as an area with upmarket properties and where one can invest not just in property, but in owning a piece of Maltese history,” Paul explained.
The Three Cities retain the architecture of the past and are undoubtedly the heart of Maltese history, specifically for architecture. The harbour inlets have been used since Phoenician times and have provided a home and fortress to almost every people who settled on the island throughout the centuries. In contrast, the harbour now hosts luxury yachts and includes one of Malta’s best known marinas.
Since The Three Cities were not always a prime location for property, they have not been bombarded with plans for constructions and development which has been the case all over the island which has preserved the original landscapes of these cities. Buyers are recognising the prestige of these historic homes and interest in purchasing them, especially among foreigners, has increased substantially. A climatic increase has also been witnessed among young artistic people and young professionals who prefer owning a property of character and history rather than something modern.
The Three Cities offer an array of palazzos and townhouses but unfortunately, as time progressed, these large properties were split up to accommodate a larger number of families in smaller quarters. In hindsight, this has led to an increase of types of properties, thereby offering more of an option for people with smaller budgets and different tastes. There are also a number of quint B&Bs and tastefully finished boutique hotels in the Three Cities, which has ensured a further increase in the number of tourists visiting the areas.
The two consultants also explained how the Government has also introduced incentives to facilitate the property industry in Cottonera. During the last budget, an initiative was introduced to reduce the number of vacant properties, which are usually inherited properties that have been left abandoned by the owners. This initiative was a reduced stamp duty from 5% to 2.5% levied on transfer of property within an Urban Conservation Area (UCA). Additionally, the rate of final withholding tax that will be levied on transfers of restored property within a UCA will be reduced from 8% to 5%.
Properties in the Three Cities have been well-presented by the Frank Salt Real Estate Fgura branch over the past 10 years and Frank Salt Real Estate has built an extensive database of properties in the surroundings. If you require further information on properties in the Three Cities, kindly call on 2367 3000.