Their proximity to Valletta makes them desirable; the cheaper price tags make them attainable. Here are the three dark horses slowly making their way up the property list.
The regeneration of Valletta has had an unprecedented ripple effect on various neighbouring areas, with some villages unexpectedly trending on the list of desirable locations to set up home or office in. This cannot be seen in a vacuum, however, as the decades-long boom in the Sliema-St Julian’s areas has also spilt over.
In fact, the first place on our list, Guardamangia (a hamlet in Tal-Pietà) is the product of both these situations. On one side, its closeness to Valletta (10 minutes on foot from the capital), makes it ideal for those looking to live close to – but not within – the city. On the other, the rise in popularity and prices of property in Gżira and Ta’ Xbiex has meant that this tiny area was next in line to home those looking for larger property at cheaper prices.
“It’s a great area to invest in,” says Benji Psaila, the manager of Dhalia’s letting office. “In fact, many multiple units of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments are going up and selling for around half the price they’d go for in the Sliema-St Julian’s area, but still bringing in as much in rent as they would in that area.”
Now, as even Guardamangia seems to be reaching its golden age, areas further away from Valletta and Sliema-St Julian’s are becoming even more popular than before with expats. Among these is Birkirkara, which is just a 15-minute drive away from Valletta and now home to some big international businesses.
“Birkirkara has always been popular with locals, particularly as there is everything within walking distance, including government offices, schools, a post office, numerous eateries and cafés, bars, and every shop you could possibly need on a day-to-day basis,” continues Benji. “Moreover, prices here are still 20 per cent less than in the surrounding areas of Swatar and Msida… All this has made it a popular place for buy-to-let investors, in fact!”
Birkirkara has another advantage over other villages: its size and long history means that you can literally find any type of property here including houses of character with traditional features, modern apartments, maisonettes, terraced houses and even the odd palazzo. With a lot of foreign companies setting up shop here, it’s a great thing that property is in big supply, too. People choosing to rent in this area for its lower price tag then the Sliema-St Julian's area, while taking advantage of the many supermarkets, public gardens, and bus connections that Birkirkara has to offer.
Next up, is the old and proud village of Ħamrun, located just a five-minute drive from Valletta. This buzzing location, with its incredible serving of houses of character and townhouses, is also set to be affected by the changes happening in and around the capital – especially as the village is well-known for its lively culture and multiple coffee shops.
“It’s a massive area that still needs to pick up, but that will happen in 10 years’ time, which makes now the ideal time to invest!” Benji concludes. The village is home to many traditional townhouses, however these are being snapped up by investors to be turned into rental units.
Different in character, these three villages are connected by their potential as future heavyweights on the local market – similar to what has taken place in the Three Cities over the past 15 years or so. Of course, before investing in these areas, our suggestion is to speak to our estate agents, who can help you make the right decision on where to live and where to invest!