Purchasing your first property can be a stressful experience, especially with costs piling up. Thankfully, there’s some financial solace with the first-time buyer scheme.
The government has implemented multiple initiatives to encourage new buyers to get their foot on the property ladder. Keep reading to find out more about the stamp duty exemption and property acquisition grant.
Who is eligible for the first-time buyer scheme?
To qualify for the scheme, you must fulfil certain criteria:
- You (and your partner, if applicable) must not own or have previously owned property, even outside of Malta. An exception can be made for owners of a garage smaller than 30 square metres, who have not benefited from the first-time buyer scheme or refunds in the past.
- You must be Maltese or a citizen of the European Union. In the case of couples who are married or in a civil union, it is sufficient for one person to fulfil this criteria.
Stamp Duty Exemption
What is stamp duty?
When purchasing a property in Malta, you are obligated to pay 3.5% in stamp duty on the first €200,000 and 5% on the remaining value. Meanwhile, stamp duty is not charged on movable property that is part of the sale, such as furniture.
How does the exemption work?
The first-time buyer scheme exempts you from paying the stamp duty on the first €200,000. This means you can save up to €7,000, which is an immense financial relief!
This incentive was implemented by the government in 2013 to aid those interested in purchasing their own home. It is important to remember that when signing the preliminary contract, around 1% of the owed stamp duty must be paid upfront. So make sure to take this into account.
When does the stamp duty exemption expire?
The scheme is set to expire at the end of 2023, but it will likely be extended or revised. So far, this incentive has always been extended, and the cap has also increased from the original €150,000.
How do you apply for the stamp duty exemption?
You can apply for this scheme by signing a declaration that this will be the first immovable property that you will acquire. Your notary must record this in the deed. A form is to be submitted to the Commissioner of the Inland Revenue on or before the 28th of February 2024.
Property Acquisition Grant
What is this grant?
To further alleviate the financial burden of a new home, the government has implemented another first-time buyer scheme. Announced in the 2020 budget, €10,000 is granted to successful applicants after acquiring their property. This grant is given over 10 years, through yearly payments of €1,000.
Who is eligible for this grant?
The eligibility criteria mentioned above also apply to this grant, with some exceptions or added terms:
- If a couple is applying for this scheme together and one of the applicants owns another property, they will still be eligible. However, the grant is reduced by half, to a total of €5,000.
- The property must have been purchased through a loan from the bank and couples must have a joint account. If this account is closed, the grant is immediately suspended.
- The property must be used as your primary residence. If you are thinking of transferring your property, the Housing Authority must be informed so they can stop the payments. In the case of a couple ending their relationship, if one person retains the property, they are still eligible to receive the funds.
How do you apply for the first-time buyer grant?
You can apply for this scheme after signing the deed, by filling out the form from the Housing Authority. Thereafter, you must submit an original bank statement of your loan account by March of every year to receive the funds. If the deadline is missed, that year’s grant is lost.
Buying your first property is one of the most important investments you can make in your life. Now that you have a better understanding of how the schemes work, you can take the first step towards achieving your dream home.
Make sure to check out our Current Developments, a selection of new-build highly-finished homes.