The beautiful island in the heart of the Mediterranean boosts a resilient economy. It is a thriving business hotspot attracting significant foreign investment. Malta’s booming economy and low unemployment rate has attracted thousands of expats. The country has a stable political and social environment. But what are the facts for people wishing to live here?
For a long period of time Malta had a reputation as a cheap place to live. But as of late this position is changing. This also depends on where you are coming from. If you move to Malta from major European cities you will see the country as inexpensive. You will not think likewise if you move from rural areas. Yet you can still live a comfortable life in the small EU member state.
Malta is one of the modest places to live in Europe. Compared to Central and Northern European countries its cost of living is cheaper. Though it is higher than Eastern European countries. Day to day living expenses are reasonable. Yet, the area where you live and your lifestyle affect to your ultimate cost of living.
Monthly Key Expenses
By far the biggest living expense that you will incur is rent. This is also the most fluctuating cost. But keep in mind that properties rented out in Malta are furnished.
On average, a furnished one bedroom apartment, in a central location costs around €800 per month. Yet, the same apartment in the southern part of the island will rent out at around €750 per month. Whilst, a one bedroom apartment with seaview starts at a price tag of around €1,000 per month. A small one bedroom apartment in Sliema and St. Julian’s without seaview costs around €1,100 per month. Both locations are the trendiest areas of the island. They are lively and buzzing with entertainment.
A more comfortable and spacious two bedroom apartment in the south costs around €1,000 per month. If you opt for a two bedroom apartment in a central location the charge is around €1,300 per month. If you want to reduce your rental costs you can always share an apartment. This practice saw its introduction over the past few years as rental prices soared.
Sliema and St. Julian’s are the most sought after areas. Both places are popular with tourists. Located near the sea, with retail shops and modern accommodation. You are in the heart of the island and there is always something happening. For this reason it makes both locations the most expensive to live in.
Malta is a small island. Everything is close by so moving out to a quieter town means cheaper rent. Besides more spacious apartments.
Give the decision on where to rent its due importance. A property’s location makes a huge difference between expensive and fair rental costs. The more remote and quiet, the lower the rent. Whilst, renting a new development will have a higher cost than an older property.
Utility costs are another factor you should consider when analyzing living expenses. Compared to other countries in Europe, Malta’s utility costs are on the low end. On average, the cost of water and electricity per month is around €85. For two persons living in a 120 square meter apartment. The use of air conditioning systems in summer and winter will result in higher costs. But this charge depends on consumption. A 12 kg gas cylinder costs €15.10. Yet, this lasts 6 months with regular use.
In Malta, there is no property tax for waste collection and infrastructure maintenance.
Basic groceries items are comparable to those of other European countries. Keep in mind that the country is an island with no natural resources. It imports all its necessary supplies. So these goods will come at a higher price compared to other mainland European countries.
Besides, your grocery bill will vary according to your preferences. The number of family members and where you shop. A healthy diet based on meat, fish, chicken, vegetables and diary for one person costs around €120 per week.
You will get cheaper groceries if you buy from supermarkets. As opposed to the corner grocery store. Likewise, food kiosks will sell food and drinks at a higher price. The island is not short of supermarkets. You will find international supermarket chains in most towns. Another cheap way to buy fruits and vegetables is from vegetable wagons. You will find these parked along streets in every town and village.
Malta’s telecommunication infrastructure is one of the best in Europe. It has an excellent internet connection with high-speed broadband. This comes at a minimal charge of around €35 per month. The package also includes basic TV channels and telephone landline. Malta has three mobile phone operators who compete to offer the best rates on mobile calls, sms and data.
Your monthly essential expenses on average will cost around €1,600 per month.
Monthly Secondary Expenses
Consider that whilst living in Malta you are bound to incur further living expenses. Such as entertainment, taxi, car fuel, medical visits and such.
Eating out remains reasonable. You are spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants and eateries. The country provides a diverse cuisine. With a selection of international cuisines. Being Maltese, Italian, French, Asian, American and Middle East. A three course meal, excluding beverages, for two persons in a mid-range restaurant costs around €80. A fine wine at the same restaurant costs around €25.
If you do not wish to go out, you can get food to your home! Almost all restaurants offer food delivery through Bolt and Wolt apps. On top of that the island is dotted with takeaways. If you want to hangout with family and friends head to one of the many bars located in every area of the country.
Gym Membership Costs
You can take care of your physical fitness at gyms. The majority of Malta’s towns have one or more gyms. A gym session costs around €10 per hour. Besides you can get a gym membership in the range of €60 to €70 a month. A personal trainer costs €35 per hour. Moreover, gyms provide a range of fitness classes. You can either pay per session or buy a bundle of sessions.
Besides, you have the option to exercise for free along Malta’s beautiful promenades!
Given the size of the island it’s easy to get around. Most people use buses, the ferry system or taxi to travel.
Malta has an extensive network of bus routes. Which take you anywhere around the entire island. Hence, you do not need to own a car. As a result you save on running costs which contribute to a lower cost of living. What’s more is that public transport is free of charge to all residents.
Taxi charges are reasonable. A trip to the Airport from Sliema, through app-based services comes at a fee of around €12.00.
You can opt to buy a car. But operating a car in Malta comes at a high cost. Tax on purchase of a vehicle and insurance are expensive. You will incur annual service maintenance cost. Fuel cost for one litre of unleaded petrol is €1.34 and diesel €1.21. You can save on fuel if you opt to buy an electric car. You can charge it for free at one of the number of stations located in many localities.
Malta’s healthcare quality is outstanding. If you are a Maltese resident, EU citizen or you work and pay social security contributions in Malta. You are entitled to free medical care at the public hospital and public health centers.
But, if you need to see a private general practitioner the visit will cost around €20. A specialist charges €70 or more per visit. Another option is to get basic health insurance. The charge is approximately €300 per person per year. An advanced health care plan can run up to €2,000 per person per year.
Medical prescriptions and over the counter medicine come at a high price tag. This when compared to other EU countries. Consider that Malta imports all medicines.
Getting a housekeeper to keep your property spotless. To take care of household chores will cost anywhere between €10 to €15 per hour.
Malta has one of the best education systems in Europe. You will find state, church, private and international schools. State schools are free. Whilst a private school will cost on average €6,000 per child per year. International school fees come at a higher fee per year. Transport to any school is free of charge.
The State University and MCAST come free of charge to Maltese or EU citizens . Third country nationals have to pay a fee depending on the selected field of study.
Every town and village has several childcare centers. You can enroll children from 0 to 3 years in any center. Childcare services are free of charge if both parents are in employment.
Benefits of Living in Malta
Malta’s average income for 2022 stood at €28,288 (or €13.60 per hour) based on the latest Eurostat data. This is lower than the European average of €47,632 (or €22.90 per hour). Yet, the personal tax rates in Malta are more favorable than other European countries. Though salaries are lower, the lower tax rates and the cheaper cost of living still permit you to live a comfortable life.
Malta’s attractive tax rates are both on direct (being Income Tax) and indirect tax (being VAT). Income is taxed at progressive rates based on your earnings. Whereby, every employee is entitled to a 0% tax bracket dependent on marital status. Example: a single person does not pay tax on income earned up to the first €9,100. The extra income earned is taxed at progressive rates. The highest tax rate is 35%.
Malta’s standard VAT rate stands at 18%. But the supply of food with certain exemptions and medicines are at 0%. A reduced rate of 5% VAT applies to printed material, supply of electricity and confectionery goods.
But the Mediterranean gem offers so much more than daily living! It offers a good deal of social and entertainment activities. You can take boat trips, go to the cinema, visit Gozo, visit Comino, swim and walk around. Most of these entertainment activities do not break the bank! Some of the fun things you can do not cost a penny. Such as going to the beach and walking along the promenade. Its laid-back lifestyle contributes to a comfortable life.
Malta offers a lovely climate, safety and a multicultural community. Malta’s Mediterranean climate means a warm and sunny summer with mild winters. Besides 3,000 hours of sunshine a year! Crime rate is low. People from all corners of the world move here for employment opportunities. This makes Malta a multilingual country. Most people speak English so you should not encounter any communication difficulties.
Malta has good air travel connections with daily flights to major European cities. A daily ferry service operates between Malta and Sicily.
The beautiful archipelago has something to attract everybody. It offers an excellent culture, several historical sites and amazing views. It is sought after by foreign nationals to live, work, visit and set up business.
If you have a decent salary and do not go overboard on rent. You will be surprised to find that you end up with more disposable income. When compared to other European capitals. The reasonable cost of living is one of the islands’ major draw cards. As a result Malta is one of the most affordable places to live in.