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First-time buyers and young families are drawn by their affordability, while for some the promise of a practical, easily manageable piece of real estate is the main attraction, and others see the opportunity for a solid investment in a property that is always popular with renters for the lifestyle it offers.
Apartment blocks and complexes can now be found in every town and village across Malta, offering a massive variety to choose from for anyone looking to buy an apartment as a home or a rental investment. Whether you’re looking for a modern urban home right in the heart of town, with shops, restaurants and bars all a stone’s throw away, a holiday flat in a quaint seaside town, minutes from the beach, or even a quiet rural property at the edge of a small village by the countryside, it’s likely you’ll be able to find the perfect apartment for you.
So what has made apartments such a popular choice for so many, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of these properties?
Apartments are usually significantly cheaper than houses with the same number of bedrooms, making them a fantastic option for anyone with a tighter budget or those looking for an affordable way to get a foot on the property ladder. Costs like electricity, heating, cooling and other utilities, as well as general upkeep and maintenance, are usually lower than in larger properties, meaning you’ll be pumping less into your home over the years too.
On top of this, some apartment complexes offer fantastic, shared amenities like rooftop terraces, gardens, gyms, swimming pools or barbeque areas that would be extremely expensive to have in your private home, making these properties a great way to add a taste of luxury to the way you live without totally breaking the bank.
Whether by the beach or in a bustling town centre, buying an apartment offers you access to locations where other properties might be outside your budget. You can find apartments in all sorts of areas, meaning it’s a lot easier to find a location that suits the lifestyle you want to lead. Perhaps it’s a seaside property with great views, fresh air and easy access to swimming spots.
Or perhaps you’re looking for an urban apartment close to your work, cutting down on commuting time and stress and surrounding yourself with bars, restaurants, shopping centres and all the amenities you could need within easy walking distance. If the bustle and convenience of urban living appeals to you, buying an apartment could be the perfect way to immerse yourself in it.
Apartments offer a level of convenience that other property types cannot. You’re not going to have to constantly carry out maintenance works on the garden or building exterior, and you’re going to spend less time cleaning than you would with a larger house, while essential maintenance on common parts of the building is usually handled communally (though you will probably have to contribute to the costs). This makes apartments highly attractive to busy professionals, people living on their own, and anyone who prefers a hassle-free living environment that doesn’t require their constant care and attention.
Security is a huge consideration when buying any property: your home is the one place you want to feel absolutely safe, and if you’re away you want absolute peace of mind that your home is secure.
Apartments offer significant benefits in this regard. Entering a modern apartment complex usually means passing multiple locks or security codes before any would-be intruder even reaches your front door. The complex may feature additional measures like door cameras, surveillance and alarm systems to keep the entire building secure and reduce the need to invest in costly private security systems yourself.
Moreover, being surrounded by neighbours means there are plenty of eyes around to spot any suspicious behaviour, whether it’s someone in the building who doesn’t belong, or someone scoping around the outside.
In fact, this sense of having other residents around to watch out for you is another plus of apartment living for many. While being in close proximity to your neighbours is not without its drawbacks, the sense of a community is a big benefit, particularly in urban centres where people tend to be more socially isolated. It can be very comforting to see the same faces regularly and get to know the people living around you.
The trade-off for the fantastic affordability and location benefits apartments offer buyers is usually space. Of course, apartments come in all shapes and sizes, and with the huge variety available on the property market in Malta and Gozo, it’s usually possible to find one that fits your budget and priorities, but in general apartments offer less space than a house with the same number of bedrooms.
Space has become more important to many with the pandemic and the rise in work-from-home arrangements and buying an apartment could mean living with less furniture and getting more creative with your interior design choices to prevent smaller rooms from feeling cramped, it could mean less space for entertaining, and if you have children or pets, you may find that you have to leave home more often to keep them comfortable and entertained.
Private outdoor space is also usually limited to a small balcony (although there may be shared amenities like access to a communal roof terrace, garden or pool area) which means your proximity to open spaces like public gardens, countryside or beaches is likely to be more important to your mental wellbeing.
As many apartments are in more densely populated urban areas, the lack of readily available parking spaces is also worth considering: does the apartment you’re looking at come with a garage, and are you ready to park further away from home or spend more time looking if not?
The unescapable reality of living in an apartment is that you’re going to be living in very close proximity to your neighbours: unlike in a house, you’re almost guaranteed to have people living above you, below you, and on the same floor as you.
This means noise is very likely to be a bigger issue than in other properties. If somebody in the building is playing loud music or hosting a party, you’re going to know about it very quickly, and your upstairs neighbours could be a constant nuisance if they’re not the quiet sort. It also means you’ll feel obliged to keep the noise down in your own apartment, possibly feeling more constrained in your lifestyle than you would in a more private property.
Couple this with the possibility of more traffic and street sounds in apartments in urban centres, and noise could quickly become a major issue whether you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep, work from home, or just enjoy some peace and quiet, and therefore a major factor to consider when looking at apartments.
Your physical closeness to your neighbours also means you’re going to see them – a lot – whether in the lift or common areas on your way in or out of your apartment, or while making use of communal amenities like pools, gardens or gyms the complex. While the feeling of community appeals to some, others may prefer a bit more separation from those around them.
If you decide to buy an apartment, you are agreeing to share a building with a number of other people, and that could mean accepting some limitations on the way you enjoy your property. You could find there are more hoops to jump through if you’re looking to renovate your apartment, particularly if it’s anything that affects the building exterior. Some apartment complexes prohibit pets or set other rules that everyone living in the building is expected to abide by, and all common areas and amenities are likely to come with their own shared conditions.
While none of these rules may be dealbreakers in themselves, having to negotiate what you can and can’t do in your own building could get grating (particularly if you happen not to get on particularly well with certain neighbours!) for those who value their independence and looking into any limitations the building may impose is essential before buying an apartment.
Having the right real estate agent is vital to making your search easier and ensuring you find the right property for you. Whether you’re looking for a home or an investment property, your expert RE/MAX agent can give you the best guidance on the apartments on offer across Malta and Gozo. Get in touch today at https://remax-malta.com.