Investment Forum - Real Estate

What are SDAs?

by Kevin Deguara

How about a stylish, luxury home in Malta – but with a twist?

The property market in Malta has many great options for the luxury home seeker – including Special Designated Areas, or SDAs. This is where you will get special privileges as homeowners such as access to the latest in modern comforts.

Here is the lowdown on why SDAs are special by nature as well as by name.

What is an SDA?

An SDA, in terms of Chapter 246 of the Laws of Malta, is a status granted to qualifying developments that allow EU and non-EU nationals to purchase property in Malta with the same rights as locals. SDAs consist of luxury complex of residential and business properties, set in one of Malta’s most highly-sought-after locations. 

SDA properties range from studio apartments through to villas with private swimming pools. Regardless of property type, they are all finished to high standards and generally have good views.

And that is not all. SDA residents also enjoy exclusive access to a long list of luxury amenities, such as communal pools, landscaped gardens and open spaces, commercial areas, underground parking… the list goes on.

Who are SDAs for?

While anyone looking for luxury living will love owning a property in an SDA, these areas are especially suitable for foreign investors.

Due to EU restrictions, a non-Maltese person is limited in terms of how much property they may buy on the Maltese Islands. For instance, specialised permits are required, and properties can’t be rented out to third parties. 

Enter, the SDA.

Buying a property – or several – in an SDA is quick, easy and straightforward for foreign investors. They will have access to luxury properties in desirable locations without the need of an Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) permit – ready for rental if they wish.

Are they suitable for locals? 

In the early 2000’s when SDA’s came to life, it was mainly local investors who bought, to be used for their own use and then once the location solidified itself, many purchased multiple units for the rental market. Soon after and due to the fact that SDA’s have many perks for foreign investors, such projects became go to locations for many. 

SDA projects have shown to be very sound investments and when priced well and marketed properly, they do not last long on the market. History of such as proven to time and time again.

Pros of an SDA

There are many advantages to owning property in an SDA besides foreign buyers having the same rights as locals. Here are a few:

  • They tend to be in prime locations with great views and surroundings.
  • They are the height of luxury living, with the latest and best in exclusive communal areas and amenities such as communal Pools, Gardens, Walk Paths, Beach Front Access, Retail Shops.
  • No AIP permit is needed to purchase the property.
  • Favourable tax structure.
  • Rental opportunities are available for all properties.
  • Capital appreciation has historically been higher than in other areas.
  • They are car-free zones, most with their own underground parking facilities.
  • They are gated communities with their own security.
  • Mixed-use areas, allowing one to live, work and play in the same area.

Cons of an SDA

The list of SDA downsides is far shorter.

Since each unit is highly finished, the price per square metre tends to be higher. Likewise, the luxury amenities increase the condominium fees when compared to other residential areas. 

Yet, with such high quality on the cards in all aspects of an SDA, the value is more than justified.

The Covid effect

During the Pandemic, SDA developments kept their position in the market, due to the fact that such developments are always in high demand for various reason explained and would be considered to be the last segment of the market to be affected due to the main property rule of Location, Location, Location.

Where are the SDAs?

Each SDA is different and has its own benefits and charms. It all comes down to where the SDA is located and what you are looking for in a property.

Fancy a luxury urban retreat in the heart of the city? Then look no further than the Portomaso Marina Development or Pendergardens. Both developments are set in enviable spots in bustling St Julian’s. And they both boast incredible five-star facilities. 

You could also head to Sliema, another tourism and business hotspot. In Sliema, you will find the Tigne Point and Fort Cambridge developments. There, you will be a stone’s throw away from a large shopping mall, business hubs, cafés and restaurants. And when you are at home, you can sit back with spectacular views across Malta’s famous Grand Harbour.

If the seaside is more to your taste, there is Ta’ Monita Residence in Marsascala, Tas-Sellum Residence in Mellieha or the newly developed Vista Point in Marsalforn, Gozo. All these residences offer panoramic sea views, fresh Mediterranean Sea air and, of course, the signature creature comforts found in an SDA.

For some peace surrounded by local landscapes, check out Madliena Village in Madliena. Here, you’ll be in a prestigious valley just outside the quiet village of Gharghur. Or head to Gozo, where you’ll find the Kempinski Residences in San Lawrenz – a five-star taste of Gozo’s spectacular scenery and local culture.

If you want to be near local (and international) business opportunities, the new Smart City development in Kalkara is a state-of-the-art business hub modelled after Dubai. Similarly, The Quad will soon offer professional and commercial office spaces, combined with spacious outdoor landscapes, in central Malta.

Meanwhile, history buffs will love St Angelo Mansions in Vittoriosa, or Fort Chambray in Ghajnsielem, Gozo. This is where you can take in the same historic architecture and harbour views that the Knights of the Order of St John did centuries ago.


kevin deguara

With more than 20 years’ experience in the real estate sector, Kevin Deguara had initially started out as a Letting Associate and quickly moved to the sales side of things, where his career was a successful one. Kevin branched out with his own Re/Max franchise and has been operating independently under the name of Re/Max Blue Harbour. During this time, Kevin and his team have won multiple and consecutive high achievements within Re/Max Malta Awards.


The content of this article does not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry. 

What are SDAs?