Investing in property overseas is one of the most rewarding investments performed in a lifetime – It is a tangible investment which enables the investor to see a capital growth, to savour the fruits acquired from yields of rentals which could finance the repayment of a mortgage, as well as to get the feel of the investment by spending some time in the acquired overseas property whether it is skiing, golfing or unwinding by the beach. However, prior to embarking on such an exciting journey, it is important to perform individual research and to seek all the professional advice available at hand in order to feel comfortable with your abroad property investment. We, at Propertyline International Real Estate, are willing to offer our advice and all the support required to take you to the next step. Our team of carefully selected, highly qualified and experienced consultants presently handles requests for different types of property in various regions of Cyprus, Dubai (United Arab Emirates – UAE ), Egypt, Italy, Malta & Gozo , Morocco, Portugal and Turkey with a selection of different budgets and varying types of investors.
Within the next few months, we will also be offering information, our support and a selection of international properties for investment in a number of countries. All the countries selected are not just ‘sea and sun’ destination but they offer much more to suit your lifestyle as you will realise whilst browsing through our user friendly website, www.propertylineinternational.co.uk which will help you make a wise investment tailor made to fit your requirements but also to choose a Home and not just a house to live in. This is independent of whether you are a pure investor, who eventually will be looking to sell a Home; whether you are buying a retirement Home; whether you are looking for a Home to relocate; whether you are looking for that second Home or even third; and whether you are investing in a Buy to Let Home.
Back to top
Our Philosophy is Quality Service and Superior Customer Care
Our Motto is Our Clients are Our Best Advert
Back to top
Back to top
The property market in Cyprus is attractive to both locals and foreign investors who see it as a very stable and low risk investment that is guaranteed to yield decent returns. A key reason why investment in Cyprus is so appealing to foreign investors is that it has European systems in place, low taxation and an excellent communication system. The service sector is also highly skilled, very polished and professional and extremely hospitable. In addition, the unique hospitality of the local population, the attractive climate as well as a safe and secure environment make Cyprus the ideal place for property investment.
Property in Cyprus represents one of the fastest growing property markets in Europe. Property sales in this Mediterranean Island are further boosted by regular and increasing airline services to the international airports at Larnaca and Paphos. Both of which are well served by both scheduled and budget airlines.
The property market has been on the increase for the last few years and with the country’s accession to the European Union and the adoption of the Euro as their currency it is likely that the market will remain bullish.
Propertyline International offers a number of outstanding developments. The Cyprus homes are located in the south in the regions of Paphos, Larnaca, and Limassol. All of the real estate in Cyprus is built to the highest standards with excellent finishing throughout. The projects, situated in prime locations enjoying panoramic sea, mountain or valley views, offer excellent after sales service, property management and easy payment terms. Most of the Cyprus homes feature large gardens or patios, and residents can benefit from several onsite facilities such as parking spaces, swimming pools and gymnasiums. Access to the main towns and airports is just a short drive away. Inspections visits can also be organized should clients wish to view a property before purchasing.
Capital Growth - Investment in Cyprus
Buying real estate in Cyprus is regarded as a solid investment for all types of buyers, from large corporations to individuals. After joining the European Union, Capital Growth soared to around 20% per annum and has maintained this over subsequent years.
Rental Yields of real estate in Cyprus
In line with the growth in property prices, some regions of Cyprus offer excellent buy-to-let opportunities, particularly in tourist resorts. Rental yields have also shown a strong growth. Short term yields depending on location, range from 8% to 12% of the property value and long-term rental yields average between 5% to 7%.
Mortgages of Cyprus homes
The mortgage market in Cyprus is well developed and you should have no problems financing your purchase of the property in Cyprus. Most commercial banks offer mortgage facilities to locals as well as foreign nationals. Loans are based on the purchaser providing a minimum deposit of 30% with 70% of the purchase prices financed through the mortgage.
Purchase Procedures of Property in Cyprus
Buying property in Cyprus is generally considered a very straightforward process. Since many of the inner workings of property exchanges follow European standards, the process is typically quite easy for Europeans to understand. This is a big selling point for investors who do not want to deal with complicated and difficult purchasing procedures. Despite this professional advice should always be taken before embarking on investment in Cyprus opportunities.
Nationals of European Union states, who chose investment in Cyprus property market can buy freely if purchasing their primary residence. Investors looking for a holiday home or buy to let opportunity still need to obtain permission from the Council of Ministers, although this regulation is expected to be removed shortly to bring the process into line with EU law. Nationals of non EU countries need to apply for permission to purchase property in Cyprus, from the same council, irrespective of their residency status.
Purchase Tax applicable for homes in Cyprus
Two additional charges to consider when purchasing property in Cyprus are stamp duty, which is charged at progressive rates, from 0.15% to 0.2% depending on the value of the property. Transfer tax is chargeable on a sliding scale up to a maximum of 8% and becomes payable on the issuing of the title deeds by the land registry. This process can take a number of years and should always be budgeted for.
Taxation for investment in Cyprus
Cyprus has a number of double taxation treaties with many countries, which can make life a great deal easier for both resident and non-residents investors with financial concerns and responsibilities outside the country. Currently the Cypriot government does not levy either Inheritance tax, which was abolished in 2000, nor Wealth Tax.
Cypriot Income Tax applicable to properties in Cyprus
Income earned through renting out property in Cyprus is taxable at the normal income tax rates and some specific deductions are applicable. Rates range on a progressive scale from zero rate through to 30% dependant on income generated.
Capital Gains Tax in Cyprus
Capital Gains from the sale of immovable property are subject to 20% tax regardless of your residency status. Careful planning during the purchase procedure of houses in Cyprus is essential as upon selling specific deductions from capital gains can made dependant on period of ownership, whether the property in Cyprus is the prime residence and, additionally, a one off allowance is available to all. The value of this allowance is dependant on your residency status and is available to each listed property owner. Capital Gains is not payable if you sell the property before taking on the title in the case of an off-plan purchase .
Withholding Tax in Cyprus
There are several withholding taxes applicable at source on certain payments: dividend withholding tax, withholding tax on interest and withholding tax on royalties. Progressive tax rates are subject to change and it is advisable to consult with a tax consultant for up to date information.
VAT in Cyprus
The standard rate of VAT is 15% with reduced rates of 8% and 5% respectively for certain services and goods.
Municipal Tax in Cyprus
Municipal taxes vary from area to area and are charged annually by the local authority. This tax covers services such as refuse collection and street lighting.
Property Tax in Cyprus
Rates are set on a progressive scale ranging from 0%- 0.4% dependant on the value of the property in Cyprus.
Cyprus at a Glance
Situated in the Northeastern region of the Mediterranean Sea and 75 kilometres south of Turkey, Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean and one of the most popular tourist destinations. With alluring beaches and surrounding mountain peaks, vineyards, fields of olive trees, ancient ruins that stir the imagination, citrus groves and old stone villages, this country has something to offer to everyone.
The island has a vibrant tourist sector that continues to show steady annual growth and there is an excellent business sector that has become a popular offshore location for investment in Cyprus. Furthermore the Island’s economy has been on a steady rise and is expected to continue growing in the coming years
Since 1974 the island of Cyprus has been split in two, with the Republic of Cyprus, in the south, being governed by the Cypriot government and the North of the Island being administered by the Turkish authorities. It is important to note the Greek Cypriot government is the only internationally recognized authority on the island.
There are two official languages on the island with Greek being spoken in the South and Turkish being used in the North. Due to the historical ties with the United Kingdom, English is widely spoken.
The island is split along two lines with the inhabitants of the Greek Cypriot governed South, being predominantly followers of the Greek Orthodox Church, whilst the majority of the Turkish administered North are followers of Islam and thus being considered Muslim.
Safety in Cyprus
Cyprus is seen as generally a safe country and according to Interpol has a crime rate of approximately 10% of the European average.
Education in Cyprus
The education system in the Republic of Cyprus is administered by the Ministry of Education and provides high standards of education, which is compulsory between 6 – 14 years of age. Both public and private schools are represented on the island. The University of Cyprus is located in Nicosia and offers a wide range of degree courses.
Health Care in Cyprus
Health Care facilities in the Republic of Cyprus can be split into two sectors, state run facilities and private sector facilities. Both offer an extremely high level of care and the state facilities are practically free. Non resident EU nationals can avail themselves of free healthcare using the European Health Care Card, which replaced the E 111 form.
The Republic of Cyprus is governed by the President who in turn is assisted by the Council of Ministers, all of whom are appointed by the President. The House of Representatives and the President are elected by popular vote for a five year term.
Cypriot Economic Policy
The Republic of Cyprus is an economically stable country and has experienced significant and sustained growth since the early 1990’s. Historically its main industry was agricultural based, but now remains heavily dependant on its tourism, construction and financial services sectors. Tourism currently contributes approximately 10%-15% of the islands GDP and employs more than 25% of the workforce. With its diversifying economy, Cyprus has produced annual GDP of US $21.4 billion, per capita GDP of US$27,000 and annual growth of approximately 4.4% (based on 2007).
Cost of Living in Cyprus
The cost of living in Cyprus is relatively low when compared with other Northern European countries. Electronic goods and most food items are generally better value however this may not be the case in typical tourist areas.
On January 1st 2008, the Euro became the official currency in the Republic of Cyprus.
Climate in Cyprus
With such an enviable location, Cyprus enjoys one of the most agreeable climates of any Mediterranean country. Typically it is warmer than any of its Northern neighbours all year round. It enjoys hot dry summers, but coastal areas benefit from a cooling offshore breeze. Winter months are relatively mild and rainfall is common during these months.
Getting to Cyprus
The easiest and most common way of reaching the island is by air and Cyprus currently has two international airports located in Paphos and Larnaca. Both airports receive all year round international flights, from both budget and scheduled airlines, from many destinations, worldwide. The number of flights arriving does drop slightly during the winter months however ease of accessibility is maintained throughout the year.
Additionally several foreign shipping companies have regular services to the island. The largest port facility is situated in the western part of Limassol town while a smaller port is situated in Larnaca in the East. Ferries connect Limassol with various Mediterranean and Middle Eastern ports.
Driving in Cyprus
Unlike most of Western Europe driving in Cyprus is on the left hand side and road signs are in both English and Greek. Use of front seat seatbelts is compulsory and the use of mobile phones, whilst driving, is prohibited unless using a hands free kit. EU driving licenses are valid until their expiry date although, for residents, it is possible to convert their license to a Cypriot license after six month residency.
Non EU nationals can only drive with their home license for a short period of time. Cars of over 4 years of age are obliged by law to pass a roadworthiness test every two years. Roads covering the island are, in the main, of a high standard and since EU membership there has been a programme of constant upgrades to lesser roads
Cypriot Visas and Permits
As a member of the European Union, Cyprus has regulations that allow all EU citizens to enter the country without requiring a visa for a stay of up to 3 months. There are several forms of visas for non EU nationals dependant on nationality, the length and reason for visiting the country. The regulations covering these visas are subject to change and it is advisable to check with your Embassy
The information provided is for reference purposes only. Although all efforts have been taken to be correct at the time of being published, changes may have occurred in its course and thereafter. It is advisable to confirm the details with independent authorities. Propertyline International disclaims responsibility for the information provided and does not hold itself responsible for any loss or damage sustained.
Whether it is a second home, a buy-to-let property or a property to retire or relocate in, there has never been a better time to invest in the Dubai real estate paradise. This tiny emirate, that in the not too distant past was nothing more than a simple fishing village has suddenly become the Manhattan of the Middle East. In fact, the thriving economy, the state-of-the-art infrastructure and the high standards of living, have earned Dubai the name “Pearl of the Gulf”.
Although certain regions in the Middle East can be unstable, Dubai has been a prosperous and well-respected tourist location for decades. The city is enjoying a period of dramatic yet carefully controlled growth. In comparison to other new and emerging markets, investment in Dubai appears to be a more attractive investment. With a lack of taxation and the legalisation of foreign freehold ownership, Dubai is surely contributing to the high immigration from Europe, the Gulf Region and the Indian subcontinent. Over 100,000 additional people are expected to settle in Dubai every year. International investors can invest in 100% freehold properties in Dubai, rent them out or stay in them and sell them off whenever they want to, with full repatriation rights.
Property in Dubai is of high quality and very often palatial. The projects being released are some of the world’s most inventive and ambitious, with exceptional quality properties situated in prime locations. Each of the developments is a landmark in its own right with all modern amenities and are all built to the highest of international standards. One of Dubai’s top developers is currently offering 500 million square feet of marinas, golf courses, 5-star hotels, adventure parks, beach resorts, townhouses, villas, malls, penthouses, high-rise offices and retail space across the region. With real estate in Dubai as out of the ordinary as this, it is not difficult to see why Dubai’s property market is attracting such large-scale international interest. Also, in selected developments, during promotional periods, luxury cars will be given away with every apartment purchased (Terms and Conditions apply).
The temperature is continuing to rise in the Dubai property market, with hot new developments selling out in hours. Dubai sets a standard that is nothing short of remarkable and in a small way has changed the English language by rendering the words “far fetched” – at least concerning anything about Dubai – as meaningless.
Rental Yields in Dubai of real estate in Dubai
Rental yields generally range between 6%-8%, with rents often being paid one year in advance. Renting out property in Dubai is not subject to any form of income tax, which is an additional benefit of owning property in Dubai for investment purposes.
Mortgages in Dubai
Mortgage finance is available from many internationally recognized banks such as HSBC, RakBank, Mashreqbank, The National Bank of Dubai and the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. All offer mortgage facilities of up to 70% of the value of the property, for customers interested in buying residential property in Dubai as well as buy to let accommodation.
Purchase Procedure of Property in Dubai
Recently introduced legislation has made the purchase procedure in Dubai property safer than ever. Installment payments on off-plan developments must now, by law, be paid into an Escrow account, rather than to the developer directly, This account is managed and maintained by an approved bank or financial institution and funds released to the developer only at pre-agreed stages of development. In order to ensure that the development complies with the actual building permit issued, a percentage of these funds are withheld until up to one year after completion of the project.
Most property sold in Dubai is off-plan owing to the fact that they are new developments. The procedure leading up to the purchase of off-plan property in Dubai is straightforward. Once the property is chosen, a contract is drafted setting out the general terms and conditions of property purchase. The contract will be handed over to the purchaser’s solicitor of choice. This shall also set out a detailed payment plan which includes a one time 1.5% of the property value which is paid to the Local Land Registry. On re-sale of the property in Dubai, there are no restrictions on capital repatriation
Taxation for investment in Dubai
Apart from the oil industry and domestic banking sectors, there are no income, capital gains or withholding taxes. Currently neither Inheritance Tax nor Wealth Tax are applicable in the UAE. Value Added Tax is not charged at present although this may change in the future.The Emirate also has double taxation treaties with a number of countries and is often used in international tax planning by major corporations. There are no personal taxes other than import duties, mostly at rates up to 10%, a 5% residential tax assessed on rental value and a 5% tax on hotel services and entertainment.
Dubai Income and Corporate Tax
No personal income tax is deducted from wages and salaries paid to employees or on other income earned. It is long established tradition that oil companies and banks are the only corporations to pay income tax and it is very unlikely that this will change in the near future.
There is also no corporate income tax on profits. The exemption is for a period of 15 years with a guarantee of an extension for a further 15 years in the event that corporate income tax is introduced in Dubai.
Dubai at a glance
The birth of Dubai as an independent city came in about 1833, when the city was taken over by the Al Maktoum dynasty. Dubai’s economy did not always centre on oil and its profits and was originally a fishing settlement. By the turn of the century, it grew into an important trading port. Oil was discovered in 1966, and the resulting revenues fueled the rapid development of the area and provided for the general welfare of the inhabitants. Dubai worked extensively to develop its infrastructure , transport facilities, schools, hospitals, tourist developments and other amenities to the level of an advanced society. In 1971 the UAE was formed after the departure of the United Kingdom as protector in the Gulf and within two years Dubai had adopted the UAE dirham as the official currency.
Dubai is a highly cosmopolitan city, with expatriates accounting for well over half of the population and is expected to be over 1.4 million by 2010.
The official language of Dubai is Arabic, although English is widely spoken especially in business the business world. Road signs in Dubai are usually written in both languages.
Islam is the official religion, however Dubai is one of the most liberal places in the Middle East. Learning about Islam and respecting its traditions is important to all the emirates.
Safety in Dubai
Dubai has displayed continuous political and economic stability, making it one of the safest places in the world to live in. Dubai will be the world's safest city by 2010, when a smart system project will protect over 100,000 establishments. The project operates through an electronic monitoring system on every building which will trigger fire extinguishers and report accidents via satellites linked to the civil defense operations quarters.
Education in Dubai
Dubai has an extensive education sector and the government offers free education from kindergarten to university to all its citizens. The number of colleges and universities in Dubai has grown significantly in last 20 years and every year the number of staff and students increases by about 30%. Most of the colleges and universities are affiliating themselves to prestigious institutions abroad and many of them use English as the tuition language. A number of foreign universities have started operating in Dubai, including Harvard Medical School.
Health Care in Dubai
The quality of health care is generally high and equals that in Western Europe and the USA. The latest technologies and treatments are now available in the first class hospitals and clinics in Dubai.
Dubai Healthcare City offers specialized medical and health services, including medical teaching institutions, private hospitals and clinics, spas , research and rehabilitation centres. It also includes residential villas, apartments and 5-star hotels surrounding an artificial lake with the intention to promote medical tourism.
The Supreme Council, made up of the individual rulers of the seven emirates, elect a new President and Vice-President every five years. The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum also holds the positions of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE.
Dubai Economic Policy
Dubai has changed dramatically over the last three decades becoming a major business centre with a dynamic and diversified economy. Enjoying a strategic location, it serves as the largest re-exporting centre in the Middle East.
With its low logistical and operational costs, excellent infrastructure, international outlook and liberal government policies, Dubai is increasingly attracting investors. Activities such as trade, transport, tourism, industry and finance have shown steady growth and helped the economy to achieve a high degree of expansion and diversification.
By 2010 the Emirate can be compared to a developed nation on the strength of a diversified non-oil economy with a annual GDP of US$ 30 billion and a per capita GDP of US$ 23,000, with annual GDP growth of over 6 per cent.
Cost of Living in Dubai
The overall cost of living in Dubai is similar to that in most European countries, with prices for most food items being similiar, but there are usually plenty of cheap regionally produced foods and household goods of excellent quality. Electronic goods, such as televisions, DVD players, photographic equipment and computer hardware and software, are generally less expensive than in Europe, due to lower import duties.
Utilities, such as electricity, water and gas are subsidised to some extent by the region’s government, who owns the services in order to provide an inexpensive supply. The cost of international telephone calls are generally low as well.
The currency is the UAE dirham and is linked to the US$.
Climate in Dubai
The climate is considered to be sub-tropical, with blue skies and sunshine all year round. The hottest months are between June and September. Temperatures are only slightly more moderate the rest of the year, with the coolest time being between December and March. There is very little rainfall mainly in the cooler months.
Getting to Dubai
The easiest way to reach the city is by plane. Dubai International Airport is one of the top 10 airports in the world. The airport is located about two miles out of the city and offers all services, including two bus stations as well as taxi and limousine service. There is also a shuttle service running every 10 minutes from one terminal to another.
Dubai’s location makes it accessible through many routes from cities all over world. The city is enjoying a period of dramatic yet carefully controlled growth. Five million tourists currently visit each year and this is expected to rise to 15 million by the year 2010.
Driving in Dubai
Driving is on the right hand side of the road and the city has an impressive road system. Residents wishing to obtain a driving license in Dubai need to be over the age of 18. It is compulsory to wear seatbelts and the use of mobile phones is only allowed whilst using a hands free device.
Dubai Residence and Working Visas
Entry Visa regulations are subject to change and it is advisable to check regulations with the Embassy.
Obtaining a residence visa, which is also an employment visa, is possible, as is obtaining a family residence visa. This visa is only available for people with a monthly salary of over US$1,100, and that can cover parents, spouses, daughters and sons under 18. Before applying for a residency visa, it is compulsory to take a medical test and obtain a Health Card, which can be issued by the Ministry of Health or a recognised private hospital. There is an age limit of 50 years for a residency visa, although exceptions may be made to this rule. In general, residence visas are valid for three years.
Property in Egypt is one of the newest and still relatively undiscovered emerging markets for property investors who want to buy quality property with a high return from rental, great capital growth, all at a low price. Foreign purchasers have the right to own land and real estate in Egypt. Today the government recognizes the great value foreign investors in property have for the success of the economy and are actively encouraging overseas buyers to Egypt.
The developments that are planned within Hurghada are built and managed in conjunction with UK companies. This will elevate Egypt to be amongst the most luxurious resorts in the world. With fully managed services, a wide range of accommodation types, short- walking distance from the beach, extensive facilities, and good payment terms, these properties in Egypt will have something to offer to everyone. And with prices of apartments from as low as €25,380, this is a destination that one definitely cannot miss.
All indications show that investment property in Egypt is now a highly beneficial market in which to invest. While the tourist infrastructure and economic climate is constantly improving, we would urge investors to catch this market at the very beginning, while prices remain incredibly low and high returns on investment are there for the taking.
Capital Growth-Investment in Egypt
Property prices remain incredibly low even though the market has experienced a 50% growth in one year over the last few years. Based on a steady increase in investments in the tourist sector and a resulting surge in visitor numbers, Egypt offers promising growth potential to all types of investors, while some key locations are currently attracting as much as 25% annual capital growth. Well-established tourist hot spots are already in existence, particularly along the Red and Mediterranean Sea coasts catering for a wide variety of modern touristic requirements, from excellent diving and snorkeling, five star hotels and golf courses to cultural and historical activities. New off-plan opportunities from international developers are being built, attracting overseas investors looking for a secure investment with good potential at extremely low prices.
Rental Yields of real estate Egypt
Rental yields, as high as 11.35%, are already achievable from property located in the current tourist hotspots. In fact, ‘The Global Property Guide’ ranks Egypt as offering the best residential rental returns. Visitor numbers continue to rise year-on-year fuelling the strong demand for holiday rental accommodation and thus strengthening a large proportion of the market for investment property in Egypt.
Mortgages on Egypt homes
The Egyptian mortgage finance law, implemented in 2001 allows both banks and mortgage companies to issue mortgages and home loans. However the mortgage market in Egypt is still in its infancy and raising necessary funds in your home country may be simpler. Alternatively if you are buying newly built properties, some developers have negotiated finance schemes for particular developments.
Purchase Procedure of property in Egypt
Egypt has many complex registration issues and hence it’s important to seek advice from a qualified solicitor. It is estimated that only 10% of properties in Egypt are registered.
Purchasing new build properties from developers is a safe option and will ensure that all legal requirements are in place. Your solicitor will carry out all the appropriate searches and through liaison with the Real Estate Registration office ensure that the property in Egypt is fully registered and prepared for foreign purchase. The registration procedure can take up to 4 months.
Deposits can vary between one development and another but as a general rule it is approximately 10% of the purchase cost.
After inspections and payment of any taxes or fees the registry will issue a new title deed. It important to note that the sales contract should be bilingual or it is not legally binding.
Purchase Tax Procedures of Property in Egypt
Registration tax is payable on delivery of your property and is charged at progressive rates up to a maximum of 3% of the purchase price.
Egypt has double taxation treaties with over 50 other countries and currently does not levy Wealth Tax or Inheritance tax. Individuals are considered to be tax resident in Egypt if they spend more than 183 days per calendar year in the country. It is always advisable to contact a tax consultant for the most up to date information.
Income earned through renting out property in Egypt is taxable at the normal income tax rates. Rates range on a progressive scale from zero rate through to 20% dependant on income generated. Income generated from rental of unfurnished properties is taxed differently than that of furnished properties in Egypt.
Capital Gains Tax in Malta
If a person resides permanently in a property in Malta and is selling his sole primary residence after a period of three years, then no capital gains tax is charged. If an owner selling a holiday or commercial property within five years of ownership, the seller can choose either to pay capital gains tax, at a rate of 35% on the profit less deductions (a sliding tax scale applicable), or to pay a flat rate withholding tax of 12% on the sale price. If the Maltese property is sold after five years, then a 12% withholding tax on the sale price is applicable.
Withholding Tax in Malta
In Malta, a withholding tax of 15% is payable on local interest.
VAT in Malta
VAT is set at 18% with reduced rates of 5% for certain services and goods and 0% on food and medicinal.
Malta at a Glance
The Maltese islands lie at the centre of the blue Mediterranean Sea, 93 km south of Sicily and 300 km from North Africa. The archipelago consists of 3 islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. Malta is easily reached by air, from any major European city and by sea. The climate is typically Mediterranean, with long warm summers and mild winters, having 300 days of sunshine a year.
Malta has always been recognized as strategically important due to its location and natural harbours. The island has a long historical trading background stretching from 5000 B.C, from the Phoenicians to the Romans, the Normans, the Arabs, the Knight of St. John, the French and the British till gaining Independence in 1964. Malta became a Republic in 1974, a member of the European Union in May 2004 and in 2008 the Island adopted the Euro as its official currency.
Being a nation of traders has left a distinct mark on Maltese lifestyle, making it cosmopolitan and open to different cultures. Malta is fast becoming a centre for international business in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The number of European and North African companies that use the island as their base of operations in North Africa, has been increased over the last years.
Gozo lies just 5km off the northern coast of Malta. However, it is noticeably more peaceful and rural, the pace of life is slower, the land is greener and the coast quieter. Unlike Malta, Gozo has not made a living from trade but for centuries the Island’s main activity was farming and to a lesser extent fishing. This is why villages are tightly packed on hilltops to leave the slopes and valleys for intensive farming.
The Island is roughly circular in shape, 14km by 7km in area. Gozo's population of approximately 29,000 is not so much in evidence, except in the bustling little square in what makes for the main town Victoria. The sleepy pace of the Island is the right kind of medicine for those who have been deprived of tranquility. It is not for those who favour big cities, bright lights and traffic. On the contrary it is for those who love taking leisurely walks in quiet village streets, over green hills and through picturesque valleys, diving in crystal-clear waters, swimming in blue lagoons or simply enjoying the tranquil magic of the Island. Gozo is peaceful but not isolated. The island is well served with a variety of restaurants, cafes, bars, night clubs and for those who love folklore, Gozo is a hive of activity.
First described by Homer in the Odyssey as the island “where even an immortal would pause to gaze in wonder and delight”. Gozo has several historical and UNESCO heritage sites: the historical Citadel in the Capital Victoria with its 360 degree view of Gozo; the Ggantija temples dating back to 5600 B.C.; Xlendi by day and night is magical and the Azure window and the Fungus Rock in Dwejra Bay are unique.
Gozo enjoys warm summers and mild winters with little rainfall. It is an island that has stopped in time, historically rich, enjoys traditions, folklore & festas, and has a natural Mediterranean charm. Property in Gozo is very much in demand by both Maltese and overseas investors, searching for an attractive investment opportunity.
Sandwiched between the islands of Malta and Gozo, is Comino, whose name comes from the cumin herb that used to grow freely on the island. At only 3.5 km², it is the smallest of the three islands and is virtually uninhabited throughout the year. It is a very popular destination for day trippers during the summer months, who take advantage of its crystal clear waters, peace and tranquility.
The official languages are Maltese and English, whilst Italian being widely spoken.
The majority of Maltese are followers of the Roman Catholic faith, however other religions are represented on the Island with Anglican Churches, a mosque, a Greek Orthodox Church and a Synagogue.
Safety in Malta
The environment is safe and the crime rate is very low. It a very safe place to live people walk the streets well into the early hours of the morning. Amazingly on Gozo, Malta’s sister island, it is still common to see keys left in the lock of the main door.
Education in Malta
Education is free and the level is extremely high. There are a number of different schools to choose from, ranging from Church schools to privately owned boarding schools and all tuition is in English. Malta has an internationally recognized University, which is one of the oldest educational institutions in Europe.