Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​

10th May, 2024
Special Designated Area

Designated Areas

What are Special Designated Areas?

Special Designated Area status is granted to qualifying developments located in areas that allow both EU and non-EU nationals to purchase property in Malta with the same rights as locals. Properties in Special Designated Areas (SDAs) are usually found in prime, exclusive locations and are extremely sought-after, besides being regarded as upmarket. Residential units range in size from studio apartments, penthouses, townhouses to even villas. Most of the complexes have access to communal amenities such as swimming pools, gyms and many of the larger properties will have their own swimming pools. In addition to this there can be underground garaging, landscaped gardens with exclusive access to only the owner residents and some even have their own private and exclusive access to commercial areas and shopping centres such as those that can be found at Tigne Point. 

Properties in Special Designated Areas are always finished to extremely high standards and will in almost all cases offer spectacular views of the surrounding areas. 

Special Designated areas are perfect for investors who are non-Maltese, as there is no limit on the amount of properties you can buy here or what you want to do with them such as renting them out. If you buy a property anywhere else in Malta as non-EU and Non-Maltese Citizen or even as a Maltese Citizen that has resided in Malta continuously for less than five years, you can only buy one property as your primary residence and then it is subject to an AIP (Acquisition of Immovable Property Permit). You will also not be allowed to rent the property out in that case. 


SDA - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special

Why buying in a Special Designated Area makes absolute sense ​

Buying property in Malta is uncomplicated to begin with, but buying in a Special Designated Area is even simpler. In these areas you have access to as many properties as you want or can afford to buy without the complications of getting an AIP (Acquisition of Immovable Property Permit) to own the property legally. You can also buy more than one, which is not possible for foreigners outside Special Designated Areas. You can also rent the property/ies out immediately, which is also not possible if you buy outside of a Special Designated Area as a Non-EU Citizen. Should you buy outside an SDA, the purposes of the property must be for it to act as your main residence, which is not the case with any property bought in a SDA. 

Essentially buying in a SDA gives you the same ownership rights as a Maltese local. More advantages include that SDA properties are always in prime locations and are built to extremely high standards and specifications. SDA properties usually come with access to many other amenities than the average home. SDA properties also have the best views, include luxuries such as landscaped gardens, communal pools, private promenades and clubs, exclusive use of and access to gyms, spas and much more. All the added extras can make an SDA property more expensive to start with, but it also gives far better returns as far as capital appreciation is concerned than the average home. 

SDA properties can also be subject to more favourable tax structures, almost always have far better chances of being successful rentals and SDA properties command good rental prices and a steady income for its owners. The rental income derived from SDA properties are taxed at 15%. 

Due to the fact that SDA properties are always part of well-planned complexes and developments, security is always excellent and parking is never a problem due to most of them incorporating underground garages. Owning a property here means that you have it all: a place to live, work, play and relax. 

SDA - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special

What are the latest Special Designated Area Property Developments that would be of interest to me?

Special Designated Areas can be found in various locations on both Malta and Gozo. Whether you are after living in urban cosmopolitan locations or prefer a quieter, rural landscape, there is a property guaranteed to suit your taste and budget in one of the many Special Designated Areas. We look at the latest list of these sought-after areas: 

Kalkara, The Shoreline Residences

Located in the southern region of Malta at Smart City, The Shoreline Residences is very close to picturesque Kalkara. The development in the Special Designated Area has easy access to Valletta and all major attractions. Read more about this development here

Kalkara - Shoreline - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​​

Sliema, Tigne Point Residences

With Valletta as your backdrop, this development is renowned for its luxury and sophistication. Located on the shore at Tigne Point, The Residences offers dramatic views, landscaped and private gardens, an underlying car park and a pedestrian environment. Here you will also find a sports club and clubhouse. Read more about this development here

Sliema - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​​

St Julian’s, Portomaso Development ​

Portomaso is a large and unique waterside development in St Julian’s and an extremely prestigious address in Malta. The meandering design includes a three-basin, 110-berth yacht marina, the 5-star Hilton Malta, a beach club, a health and leisure centre, an office tower, a conference centre as well as a selection of shops and restaurants.  

Here you will find waterfront properties in the form of apartments and penthouses, most of who overlook the marina and have their own swimming pools. With a promenade and lavish landscaped gardens, most of the area is free of cars. 

Due to its location, the development has proven to be an exceptional investment opportunity with high capital appreciation and excellent rental returns. If you want more details about the development, click here

Portomasa - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​​

Mellieha, Tas-Sellum Residence

The development in the Special Designated Area is on the north of the island and a mere 2 minutes away from Mellieha Bay. With clusters of apartments clinging to the hillside, most units enjoy stunning sea and country views. 

With a low-density footprint, nearly being car free and three massive swimming pools, the development is sought-after and popular. Apartments are spacious and come with terraces and verandas; all are sold finished to very high standards. More in-depth details about the development can be found here

TasSellum - Designated Area - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​​

Madliena Village, Madliena ​

Ideally located close to Gharghur and only 10 minutes from St Julian’s and Sliema, Madliena Village is a tranquil hillside community of 85 spacious, luxury apartments. With stunning views, spacious terraces and design-conscious planning top of mind, all apartments have been finished to high specifications. Designed by Carlo Schembri. For more information click here

Madliena - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​​

Marsascala , Ta’Monita Residence ​

 A seletion of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments and penthouses set around a piazza, swimming pool with underground parking. Close to the area’s most popular attractions with wonderful sea views. Affordable, this is one of the few Special Designated Areas where you can have an apartment with sea views and use of the swimming pool in the €230,000 bracket. For more information click here
Marscala - TaMonita - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​​

St Julian’s, Pender Gardens ​

Prestigious and self-contained, the development is close to the heart of all the action and offers complete security to residents. With a beautiful piazza and being car-free, Pender Gardens is a dream development in a dream location. 

Units range from studio to 1 and 2 bedroom units in modern, square layouts. Most apartments have private terraces and some show apartments are available for viewing. If you would like to see more of this prestigious development, click here

Pendergardens - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​​

Sliema, Fort Cambridge ​

Fort Cambridge has the best of both worlds: set in a marine environment right in the heart of Sliema. Fort Cambridge is away from noise and confusion of heavy traffic, built on a peaceful peninsula of land surrounded by the sea – the Tigne Peninsula – yet 2 minutes away from everything you will ever need. 

Designed by a leading firm of architects, the style is contemporary and full of light. There is no commercial component to the development, making it a peaceful environment for residents who treasure peace and quiet. The development incorporates a slew of green measures and the old fort at the foot of the development is being professionally restored. Interested? Read more here about Fort Cambridge. 

FortCambridge - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​​

Rabat, Verdala Terraces

Discover luxury, views and unrivalled sophistication at Verdala Terraces

Experience the epitome of luxury living at the Verdala Terraces, where exceptional design, breathtaking views and unparalleled amenities converge to create an oasis of residential excellence. Nestled in a tranquil corner of Rabat, just a stone’s throw away from the historic gem of Mdina (The “Silent City”), this prestigious development offers a lifestyle immersed in natural grandeur and proximity to iconic landmarks.

Key Features

Location and Proximity:

The historic city of Mdina is within easy reach, allowing residents to explore its ancient streets and marvel at timeless architecture.

Natural Beauty and Countryside Views

The Verdala Terraces embraces the lush countryside of western Malta, adorned with rolling hills and picturesque landscapes. Residents can enjoy captivating views of Malta’s countryside, the development’s landscaped gardens and its charming public piazzas.

Residential Units

The development comprises 87 upscale residential units spread across two blocks: the Grand and Royal Mansions. Choose from a diverse range of units, including 1-4-bedroom apartments, duplexes with private pools, penthouses and mansions with the best of panoramic views.

Some units feature freestanding terraces spanning 6.5 meters, providing an unrivalled sense of space and serenity.

Architectural Innovation
  • The Mansions feature cutting-edge cladding crafted from ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC), setting new standards in architectural design.
  • The Royal Mansions offer an average area of 220 sqm, while The Grand Mansions provide expansive living spaces of up to 330 sqm.
Special Designated Area Status

The Verdala Terraces holds the esteemed status of being a classified as a Special Designated Area. This means that both EU nationals and non-EU nationals enjoy equal property acquisition rights, the same as Maltese citizens. This allows owners to buy more than one unit and the right to rent it out immediately.

Exclusive Services and Amenities
  • Residents benefit from professional concierge and security services.
  • Additionally there is access to the surrounding piazzas, meticulously landscaped areas, lock-up garages, car spaces and storage facilities.
  • World-class amenities include a pharmacy, fitness centre, state-of-the-art spa, wellness classes, a sophisticated brasserie and much more.
Infinity Pool and Outdoor Spaces
  • The expansive communal infinity pool offers breathtaking countryside views.
  • Adjacent to the pool, a dedicated barbecue area and pool bar provide the perfect setting for outdoor gatherings and relaxation.

The Verdala Terraces invites discerning individuals to embrace refined living in this exceptional residential sanctuary.

verdala terraces rabat malta

Vittoriosa, St Angelo Mansions ​

The complex forms part of the unique waterfront regeneration in Vittoriosa (also known as Birgu) and is of international importance. With surrounding buildings that date back to the time of the Knights of Malta, the area will incorporate an international yacht marine, a luxury hotel and spa, a casino and many upmarket restaurants when completed. Many of the proposed upgrades have already been completed, making the area a perfect mix of old world charm and international glamour. The complex is situated between Fort St Angelo and the city of Vittoriosa, overlooking the Grand Harbour and its super-yachts. The third side of the complex looks on to the ‘Menqa’, means moat, between the apartments and Fort St Angelo. There are a large number of restaurants, museums, and village shops within easy walking distance. Each block of ten apartments is served with its own private entrance and lift. Parking facilities for residents are available in the car park situated on the ground floor. If you would like more information on this prestigious development in the Special Designated Areaclick here

Vittoriosa - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​​

Mellieha, Southridge ​

A selection of apartments developed to high specifications only 400m from the town centre. Apartments are large, in the region of 200mand all will have an open-plan design, terraces and spectacular views. Nearby one can find everything you can dream of: beaches, shopping centres, cafes and bars and also easy access to the ferry terminal at Cirkewwa. If you would like more information on this prestigious development, click here 

Melieha - Southridge - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​​

St Julian’s, Mercury Towers ​

Designed by iconic architect Zaha Hadid, the complex blends the historical architecture of the 19th century Mercury House with a modern 31-storey Tower having a mid-height twist with a horizon swimming pool enjoying spectacular open views. The project is to offer a mix use comprising of a boutique hotel, a lovely open piazza surrounded by coffee shops and shopping outlets, offices and residential units enjoying magnificent vistas, as well as a large 400 space public car park. The Mercury Towers project is truly set to be one of Malta’s most sought-after addresses. If you would like more information on this prestigious development, click here

Mercury Towers - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​​

St Julian’s, Mercury Suites ​

Designed by the firm of Zaha Hadid Architects, the finished project will include a mix of historical and contemporary edifices on its site. At its heart is a 19-century heritage building, which will be flanked by a 33-storey residential tower with a luxury 5-star ME by Melia, a hotel brand of Melia Hotels International, situated in its podium. 

Mercury Suites are designed to blend organically with the flowing lines of the neighbouring Mercury Towers. Wrapped in glass terraces, homes at Mercury Suites combine warmth and light and the mixed-use development is complemented with an array of luxury amenities that include access to several swimming pools, spacious outdoor swimming pool, dedicated 24-conceirge service, on-site security, cleaning and maintenance and a quiet retreat at the garden rooftop, as well as an array of retail and dining outlets. If you would like more information on this prestigious development in the Special Designated Area, click here

Mercury Suites - Special Designated Areas

St Julian’s, Portomaso Laguna ​

Portomaso Laguna offers discerning clients the opportunity to acquire luxuryapartmentsenjoying the best position within this unique development that forms part of the prestigious Portomaso development. Typical layouts enjoy very spacious accommodation comprising 2 double bedrooms with en-suites, guest toilet, laundry, kitchen, study, living room and dining room and a large front terrace with access to swim in the surrounding pools. If you would like more information on this prestigious development, click here

Portomasa Laguna - SDA in Malta -Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​​

Gozo, Fort Chambray

Set in the historic landmark of Fort Chambray in an unbeatable location overlooking the sea, Mgarr harbour and Malta, these properties are truly unique. Comprising of an openplan living areas, private walkways, apartments, terraced houses and villas complete with their own pools, Fort Chambray is prestigious and sought-after. The complex has a vast communal pool area which is truly magnificent and is for the exclusive use of residents. Read more here about Fort Chambray in Gozo. 

Gozo - Fort Chambray - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​​

Gozo, Kempinski Residences ​

In the historic village of San Lawrence, Gozo is where you will find the Kempinski Residences. It forms part of the legendary Kempinski Hotel, known for its five star quality to international and local visitors. The residences are serviced by the hotel and a selection of 1, 2 and 3 bedroomed units are available, as well as penthouses. The setting comes with privacy and security guaranteed as well as a concierge service. Residents can make use of the gourmet restaurants, the spa and fitness centre and can also choose have their units managed and rented out by the hotel. . If you would like to see more of this prestigious development in the Special Designated Areaclick here

Gozo - SDA in malta - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​​

Gozo , Vista Point ​

Vista Point is an exciting new development situated in Marsalforn, Gozo’s most popular resorts. Combining modern architecture and design while at the same time respecting its environmental setting, Vista Point truly has one of Gozo’s most picturesque backdrops. 

One of Vista Point’s key features are the spectacular views – the apartments situated on the north side of the project enjoy marvellous sea views whilst those located on the south side enjoy natural views and breath taking panoramas of Gozo’s countryside. 

Unique designs and apartment layouts have been carefully created to suit individual lifestyles. The project offers a large range of apartment types to suit a diverse range of budgets and have been designed and built with an uncompromising commitment to quality. If you would like to see more of this prestigious development in the Special Designated Area, click here

Gozo - Vista point - Your Complete Guide to Buying in Malta’s Special​​

Commercial SDAs​

All the areas as listed above that have a mixed use that includes commercial premises as part of the development also fall under the rules and privileges of Special Designated Areas. We look at some of the latest commercial SDAs that have been added to the list. 

Mriehel , The Quad Business Towers ​

Officially known as The Quad Business Towers, this business complex will have a height of 19 floors, will be spread over 44,000m2 of commercial floor space and incorporate landscaped areas. It will furthermore have a supermarket, a fitness centre, a childcare centre, retail outlets and a green play area, a car park, be geared for persons with disabilities and lastly have spaces available for meetings and events. 

Read more here

Quad - Special Designated Areas

In Short - Buying a Property in a Special Designated Area ​

The acquisition of immovable property in Malta, according to Chapter 246 of the Laws of Malta or the Immovable Property (Acquisition by Non-Residents) Act explained: 

EU Citizens  or Maltese Citizens with 5 years or more continuous residence in Malta 

EU Citizens  or Maltese Citizens without 5 years continuous residence in Malta 

Non-EU Citizens and Non-Maltese  

For use as a primary residence  

No restrictions – No need to apply  

No restrictions – No need to apply  

Prior authorisation is required (AIP Permit) 

For use as a secondary residence or any other immovable property  

No restrictions – No need to apply  

Prior authorisation is required (AIP Permit)  

Prior authorisation is required (AIP Permit) 

A property located in a Special Designated Area 

No prior authorisation is  required and there is no predefined limit 

No prior authorisation is  required and there is no predefined limit 

No prior authorisation is  required and there is no predefined limit 

An immovable property needed for a person’s business activities or for the supply of such services by another person 

No prior authorisation is  required and there is no predefined limit  

No prior authorisation is  required and there is no predefined limit 

No permit will be granted unless the property is required for an industrial or as a tourism project or if it is deemed to be a  contributor to the economic  development of Malta 

When a Non-EU Citizen or Non-Maltese intends to buy outside a Special Designated Area, a second AIP permit will not be granted if an applicant has already acquired immovable property elsewhere in Malta. This does not apply when buying or owning property in a Special Designated Area. 


We always advise any buyers to speak to their estate agent first when buying property in Special Designated Areas in Malta. Professional estate agents are up to date with the rules and regulations, the latest legislation and more importantly, the latest developments that have come on the market or are about to be released. Your agent can prepare and do all the necessary paperwork for you making the acquisition of a property in a Special Designated Area a seamless transaction. Should you want to rent out the property as soon as it has been transferred into your name, your agent will be able to find you tenants, long or short-term and also manage it on your behalf when you are not in Malta. 

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