Valletta has undoubtedly changed dramatically over the past decade. Viewed as the touristic, cultural and administration hub of Malta, the capital is also important to the local business community.
Discussing the importance of Valletta’s continued development to Malta as a whole, Robert Spiteri Paris, Managing Director of Perry Estate Agents took part in Thursday morning’s session of The Boardroom, aired live on WhosWho.mt’s Facebook page and presented by business writer Jo Caruana.
Mr Spiteri Paris shared that his estate agency largely deals with mid to high range properties in the capital, and that demand for all levels of property has exploded in recent years.
“When I first started working in real estate in Valletta 12 years ago, you would only ever see ‘for sale’ signs all around. Today, they have vanished and turned into Planning Authority permits thanks to the investment flowing in”, he remarked.
On the demand side, he shared that years ago it was only commercial real estate that people were interested in. He said that the agency often received inquiries about retail or office space, but now, this has evolved to include rapid demand for residential properties in the city, both from a sales and a rental perspective.
“It is a prestigious address so the demand for commercial real estate makes sense. Now we have a dramatic increase in demand for residential property. Valletta has evolved into a micro-market, where people come specifically for the city, be it to live or work.
“The frustration comes when considering the limited supply,” he added.
Mr Spiteri Paris added however that despite this challenge, he acknowledged that it is ultimately a “good thing” to have limited stock in Valletta, since in his view, the long-term goal should be to preserve the capital and not develop it.
He shared that some foreign investors and companies visit the city and fall in love, which leads them to request office space or commercial space in the capital. He also remarked that even gaming companies have started to take interest, referring to one particular client who felt that the modern iGaming offices found outside of Valletta today can feel rather clinical.
“Valletta’s architecture is what makes it so unique as a market, and what makes it a good investment in the long term.”
Mr Spiteri Paris again stressed that Valletta “will always remain an excellent investment”, adding that “it will be preserved and is one of the nicest cities in Europe”.
“As a company, we deal with mid to high end of the market too, so we have rented and sold some of the nicest properties there. You get people who could afford to live anywhere in the world, but they come to Valletta and fall in love.”
He admitted that a decade ago, he used to dread going into Valletta, but now that it has been given a facelift and so many buildings have been restored and preserved, it has undoubtedly become a pleasure.
Asked for his vision for the future, Mr Spiteri Paris said that he hopes to see the city preserved in its current glory, but perhaps that is better served by certain amenities and higher-end brands.
“If we can improve the offering, I think there is a big demand for high-end products as well. Just from the sort of people who purchase and rent in the city, I know there would be good demand for premium brands and would be successful on the high street.”