By all accounts, the enormous change in the physical and social landscape of Malta over the past half-century is remarkable. To look at photos of Spinola Bay or the Sliema promenade from the first half of the 20th century is to see a different world. For the majority of this time, real estate agency Perry has been working with these transformations on a path to becoming one of the top property agencies, not only in the region, but in all of Malta.
“Perry estate agents have been selling and renting quality residential and commercial real estate since 1981,” says Robert Spiteri Paris, Perry’s Managing Director and Head of Lettings. “We remain an independent firm of property experts with generations of unrivalled experience, selling and renting hundreds of Malta’s finest properties each year. We dedicate ourselves to personal and unparalleled customer service through our family-run business, and pride ourselves on being recognised as one of the island's most successful estate agencies.”
Since its founding, the company has developed both within Sliema, when it moved to the state-of-the-art Tower Road offices, as well as out into other regions, more recently in 2015 with the opening of the Valletta and St Julian's branch offices. Throughout all this expansion, however, Mr Spiteri Paris is clear that the underlying philosophy of the company has never changed.
“Our philosophy is simple – to offer quality over quantity and to remain small enough to be able to offer a personal service and care for our clients, yet large enough to cope and meet the demands of the most discerning property investors. It is this philosophy that has kept us at the forefront of the industry and considered as one of the leaders in the market for four decades. Our brand resonates strongly with both local and foreign clients as it gives them a sense of belonging and trust.”
Foreign clients are a major focus for Perry, which makes huge efforts to promote the islands to prospective external customers. “We run extensive marketing campaigns on both a national and a global level, through our various strategic partnerships with international prestigious brands, and have even participated in various property exhibitions throughout Europe, mainly in the UK, the Netherlands, and Ireland. The largest interest has been registered from British and Scandinavian clients on the rental market. On the sales market, we have registered increased interest from the Russian and Middle Eastern markets, whilst interest from traditional markets including England, Italy and Scandinavia remains strong and indeed consistent.”
It is these foreign clients that are having the biggest effect on the area's current property market, with expats now representing a majority of new clients. “In fact, expats now make up 90 per cent of our clients looking to rent property and 50 per cent of our prospective clients looking to purchase property. We have also experienced an unprecedented and much-welcomed increase in demand for quality and luxury real estate through various government incentives and programmes aimed at attracting high-net-worth individuals and reputable companies to our shores.”
Mr Spiteri Paris attributes this largely to the extraordinary growth of the gaming and financial industries. “It’s natural for prices to rise over time, however the rate at which prices have risen in Malta and the sheer scale of property development fuelled by incredible demand has been exceptional. The local property market has gone from strength to strength, and not a single year out of four decades has been unprofitable for the firm. The letting market, which until about 20 years ago was practically non-existent, has flourished in the last 15 years, further encouraging real estate enthusiasts to invest in ‘buy-to-let’ investments. This was largely thanks to the growth of the gaming and financial services industries in Malta.”
As a result, the property industry and the gaming industry are seen as intertwined at this stage. “The rental market remains vibrant thanks to the thriving gaming industry, and it also positively affects the sales market for the reasons cited above. Prospects for the future also look very positive, with demand and enquiries registered by our company from gaming companies increasing each year. I follow the figures published by the Malta Gaming Authority in this regard and such recent statistics look very positive and encouraging. The main drivers behind this growth have been expansion of service offerings by existing firms and relocation of more gaming businesses to our shores. These services seem to be on an uptick, which we can confirm through the continuous demand our own letting department is experiencing from the industry.”
Perry knows what measures it has to take in order to stay relevant and continue achieving excellent results. “We are investing in various technologies to service our clients in the most efficient manner possible, to ensure further growth and success. Recently, we were delighted to announce the official launch of our high-quality and unparalleled property video tours to clients listing property on an exclusive basis with us,” Mr Spiteri Paris comments. “Through these tours, prospective tenants or buyers are taken on a journey through the property using the very latest technology, including dramatic drone footage, with videos including footage of prestigious seafront addresses for rent, offered exclusively through Perry, such as The Adelaide on Sliema’s Tower Road, and OneOneO Block A at The Strand which can also be viewed on our YouTube channel. Such investment confirms our ongoing commitment to leading innovation and will see our long-established estate agency continue to lead the way across the quality real estate market.”
Finally, looking to the future outside the company, Mr Spiteri Paris has some expert advice for those who are just starting out on the property ladder. “Although prices have risen, not prioritising home ownership is the single biggest mistake young generations are making. Couples may end up spending half a million euro or more on rent over the years. €1,500 a month for 30 years comes to €540,000, and they end up where they started, owning nothing. Couples can buy a house and spend the same amount paying down a mortgage and end up owning their own property.”
This article originally appeared in iGaming Capital