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Townhouses in Malta

What is a Townhouse?



Townhouses in Malta

A townhouse is defined as a property with a small footprint but with multiple floors. They take up less space on the frontage and are built upwards. It is a way of building sizeable dwellings in a smaller area and essentially, you might describe them as being tall and slim.

They are common in North America, Asia, Australia, South Africa, and parts of Europe including Malta. In most places, they are usually uniform and terraced, but townhouses in Malta are a little different as they may be standalone, detached dwellings.

A Bit of History

Historically, the term townhouse came about to describe the urban home of a wealthy family who also had a country home which was considered their main dwelling. It most typically referred to the London home of the landed set in the UK. They would be grand with large front entrances and usually have basements for the servants to work in and the uppermost floor would be smaller rooms for the servants’ quarters. Their grand townhouses in London can still be seen in the boroughs of Chelsea, Mayfair, and Belgravia although many have been converted into flats. One such property in any of these areas today will fetch prices in excess of £1 million (€1.1 million).

Characteristics of Townhouses in Malta

Unlike in other countries, these houses are an architectural (and cultural) icon of Malta. When you look to buy this type of property, you’ll become familiar with their regular features and their colourful history. Although many have been replaced by modern apartment blocks and hotels, the promenade in Sliema was known for its distinctive terrace of townhouses.

Typically, a townhouse in Malta is a standalone dwelling, often located in the older part of the village or town, and can be 200-300 years old. They usually have an enclosed garden and they are celebrated for their features which can be any of the following (in any combination):

  • Closed wooden balconies, known as gallarijas
  • Patterned tiles
  • Wooden apertures (doors and windows)
  • Traditional staircases
  • Wide-plank wooden flooring
  • Wrought iron gates

Very often the houses were built of limestone, which was left bare, but homeowners would paint their exterior wooden features in a distinctive colour.

You may find double fronted houses which have a wider frontage or a frontage on two streets. It is becoming increasingly harder to buy or rent a townhouse on the island as many are being demolished to make way for modern developments.

Reasons to Buy or Rent a Townhouse

Buyers and renters of these houses are attracted by their characterful appeal. It makes a lovely home with some great features simply not found in other types of property in Malta. You can rent or buy a townhouse, or you may rent an apartment in one that has been converted. The advantage of this is that you get apartment living but all the character of townhouse living.

It is going to be cheaper overall if you buy a house that needs work (the more substantial the amount of work, the cheaper the price) but of course, location and size are also going to play their part in the price.

As a real estate investment, a townhouse that can be converted into apartments or spruced up with all mod cons is a good option. You can gain more rental income from such a property than as a single home.


This is really down to the individual property. Some are going to have been completely refurbished, while others might be what is best described as a “fixer-upper”. Make sure that if you are buying a townhouse, you have a complete understanding of its condition and what work is/may be required.

Yes – but it will be subject to the rules and regulations of any property conversion in Malta. You will have to comply with strict MEPA regulations ensuring that all the necessary works are carried out according to their guidelines.

The reduced availability of this kind of property is something to consider so it is more a case of seeking these houses on the market and then judging their location as part of the overall criteria you have set. Remember, due to their age, these houses are usually in the older parts of towns and villages.