Buying a penthouse in Malta: is it right for you?

If you’ve ever wondered whether buying a penthouse might be right for you, here’s everything you need to know – the upsides and the downsides – about these highly sought-after properties.

Simply put, penthouses are apartments occupying the highest floor of a multistorey block. They are usually set-back from the property’s outer walls, guaranteeing large outdoor private space, additional privacy, and exceptional views.

These properties may take up the entire upper level of the building and, generally, have a different layout to the other units in the block. Luxury designs, finishes and amenities are typical and help to set penthouses apart from other types of apartments. They may even come with their own dedicated entrance or elevator for an extra touch of privacy and exclusivity.

They can range in size from studios all the way up to luxurious duplexes (and more!) and can be found all around Malta and Gozo, atop smaller apartment blocks and towering high-rises looking out over most of the island.

The Upside

  • Privacy and comfort

No noisy upstairs neighbours, a home far above the hustle and bustle of urban streets, and a large private terrace: it’s easy to see why the promise of more privacy is such a draw for many looking to buy a penthouse in Malta or Gozo.

Living in a penthouse offers a level of privacy and comfort closer to that of a house than a regular apartment. Since penthouses are often the only unit on their floor, you won’t be bumping into anyone else in the corridor often. And with penthouses usually offering more space—indoor and outdoor—than other properties in the same block, it’s a lot more comfortable for you and your family.

At the same time, penthouses still offer all the convenience of apartment living, meaning you’re getting the best of both worlds.

  • Best views in the house

Being on the top floor means one thing is absolutely guaranteed: you’ve got the best view. Whether you’re looking out over the sea, open countryside or one of Malta and Gozo’s urban centres or characteristic towns and villages, it’s hard to go wrong with a penthouse if views are something you want.

Penthouses are typically set up to maximise your ability to take advantage of the superb views on offer, whether you’re enjoying a moment at the start of the day, relaxing at the end of a long one, or soaking in a sunset with friends or family.

Being outdoors on your private terrace offers better, more expansive, panoramic views than you could possibly get from the balcony of a regular apartment, while large windows mean that you can savour the views indoors while providing plenty of natural light to brighten up the living space inside the property.

  • Outdoor space

Having your own private outdoor space has always been a massive bonus to any property, but with many people spending more time in their homes since the pandemic, both for work and leisure time, it’s become even more of a priority for many.

One of the joys of a penthouse is the possibility of a terrace much larger and more attractive than any apartment balcony, offering something much closer to the experience of a house. Again, a penthouse offers the best of both worlds!

In more top-end penthouses, your terrace could come with luxury finishings including furniture, decking and even a swimming pool or jacuzzi.

Whether you’re using it for entertaining friends, relaxing and enjoying the view alone with a book or glass of wine, or even as a unique outdoor home-working space on a nice day, an attractive terrace is likely to be one of the major draws when looking to buy a penthouse.

  • Exclusivity

There’s no denying it: owning a penthouse remains a status symbol, bringing with it a level of luxury and exclusivity that’s hard to match. Owning the highest apartment in a building is a draw all of its own—nobody dreams of living in the middle of a building—but penthouses have a lot more to offer to the discerning buyer.

Top-end design is the name of the game for a lot of penthouses, with stellar modern architecture, high-end appliances, and luxurious furnishing, finishes, lighting and materials. Show-stopping additions like swimming pools, perhaps with a rooftop garden or barbeque areas, can all be found, while the sky’s the limit for the luxury amenities your penthouse could feature.

All this also makes penthouses highly attractive as an investment opportunity. Because they are harder to find, they are usually in high demand, with great resale opportunities. Penthouses tend to be more insulated from the volatility of the market than other property types making them a more resilient investment.

The more unique a property, the more desirable and sought-after it is likely to be, which means a better position for the owner!

The Downside

  • Too hot to handle?

For all its allure, being on the top floor of a building is not without its drawbacks—even more so the higher the building goes. Since heat rises, the penthouse is likely to be the hottest part of the building, which could pose an unpleasant challenge during the hot summers in Malta and Gozo.

And while winters rarely get very cold, you may find that you need to take steps to insulate your building that might not be needed in a regular apartment. With taller buildings, wind could also become an uncomfortable factor in your outdoor space!

Fortunately, these challenges are not difficult to overcome, but the solutions could become an added cost that you should bear in mind when considering a penthouse to buy.

Efficient cooling and heating systems, and ensuring your home is energy-efficient with good insulation and double-glazing will go a long way to ensuring your penthouse is as comfortable as you deserve it to be year-round. Fitting your terrace with a canopy and greenery and your living space with good quality blinds and curtains are also great ways of sustainably mitigating any extreme temperatures while making your property more attractive.

  • Maintenance and mechanicals

More exposure to the elements means damage from storms, wind and rain is more of a risk than in an apartment lower down the building, particularly in your outdoor space, which could bring with more costs to consider in the form of more maintenance and even higher home insurance.

Something else to consider is that the higher up you go, the more important the lift becomes to your daily routine. Nobody wants to be stuck having to slog up countless flights of stairs because it’s out of order! You’re going to want to make sure the building’s lift is reliable, and ensuring it’s well maintained could become a priority.

In some apartment buildings, the penthouse may also be sharing the roof with mechanical equipment like the lift room and mechanical equipment, which could be noisy and unfortunately tend to run around the clock.

  • Sky-high living… sky-high prices?

Probably the most important thing to consider when choosing to buy a penthouse is the cost. All the advantages of living in a penthouse mean that this property type comes at a significant premium. Costs for penthouses can easily command a price 5- to 15- percent above other apartments in the same building.

In return for that investment, you know you are buying a superior product, and of course, like all properties, costs will vary considerably depending on a number of factors, including the size, location, amenities and many others.

So if your heart is set on buying a penthouse it may be possible to find something that suits you, but depending on your budget and priorities you may have to ask yourself whether a penthouse is the best choice for you.

The same scarcity and exclusivity that makes penthouses so attractive as an investment also means that finding the right one may be a bit of a harder task. There simply aren’t as many penthouses out there as other apartments! So if you’re in the market, you might need to prepare for a longer search.

The RE/MAX takeaway

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 penthouses on offer in Malta and Gozo. Get in touch today at