Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cheapest Places to Live in Malta

Malta Right Now

Today we're turning our attention to another Tax Haven, Malta in our review of the Best Places to Live list presented by International Living in their 2010 Quality of Life Index.

If you know anything about International Living you know they lean towards countries which offer two things - a low cost of living and places where taxes are minimal if not avoidable altogether.

The Republic of Malta is made up of five islands in the Mediterranean - Malta, Gozo and Comino have small resident populations while Cominotto and Filfla are uninhabited but visited regularly by  boat day-trippers and seabirds. The Capital of Malta is Valletta. In their Annual Retirement Index International Living gives Malta top spot for the World's Best Climate. Malta is certainly not on most peoples radar and almost unheard of by Americans. It is anchored close to the centre of the Mediterranean Sea about sixty miles from the Sicily. There is a modern airport at Luqa, which is on the isle of  Malta and this connects it to a number of European countries. Rome is about an hours flight away while the next closest neighbours are  North Africa, at about 200 miles. Travel west, and you arrive in Tunisia; go south from Malta, and you reach Libya. In other words, despite the Republic of Malta's island status, you won't live here like a castaway.

Maltese Currency & Cost of Living on Malta

The Euro has been adopted as the official currency of Malta. It is also known to be is one of the cheapest places to live in Europe. Groceries, clothing, furniture and utility services are all quite reasonably priced. Household help like maids and gardeners are also available at relatively low hourly rates. Tipping is generally expected in Malta if service is not included in the bill at the universal rate of 10-15% in restaurants and 10% to taxi drivers.

Malta's Specially Designated Developments (SDA's)

Some areas on the Maltese Islands have been set aside as Special Development Zones. Maltese legislation says foreigners can purchase only one island home. However, this law does not apply to Specially Designated Areas (SDAs). You can buy as many homes in SDA developments as you wish. SDA apartments are usually at luxury standard so although you won’t be competing with locals who live on modest wages you also won't find these the cheapest places to live. Opportunities currently exist in Midi-Malta’s Manoel Island / Tigne Point development, Portomaso, and Cottonera Waterfront.

Steeped in history and with the best climate in the world, the islands of Malta have even more to offer. Here you’ll find a low cost of living...affordable “houses of character”...zero crime...an excellent health care system...and serious tax breaks.

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