House Hunter: 'Malta's schools are the main draw'

Jonathan Miles lives in central London with his wife and two children. Becuase of a lack of good schools, they have decided to move to Malta. Their budget is £1.5m
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The Independent Online

THE PROBLEM

THE PROBLEM

"I'm currently living in a flat in central London with my wife and two small children. We have investigated schools in the area and are not happy either with the standard or the cost involved. We went to see the nearest school to us and it was crazy, there were 300 children who lived all over the place trying to get in. That, plus the fact that everything you try to do in London is ridiculously expensive and there's so much crime, has made us realise this is not the place to bring up kids.

"We have considered Spain but it's too flash and is just like London but with sunshine. We have been to Malta many times and like it very much. We have been told that the standard of education is extremely high, great schools are a fraction of the price that they are here, and the health system is also in a different league. We have no particular ties to London and are therefore looking to move and start again in Malta.

"My wife doesn't drive so the property needs to be central and close to a good primary school. Because of my work, it would also need to be within easy access of the airport. The property itself would need a minimum of three bedrooms and must have plenty of space, indoor and outdoor, and a pool."

THREE PROPERTIES FOR JONATHAN TO VIEW

Property one: Characterful house in St Julians

Price: £491,000 Agent: Frank Salt Real Estate: 00356 213 81 692 Agent's details: A converted characterful house located in a sought-after residential area. A comfortable family home which has a hall, study room, living/dining room combined, fully fitted kitchen/breakfast and living room, cloakroom, four double bedrooms, two full bathrooms (one en suite), private courtyard, large garden, swimming pool, garaging for two cars, drive, and store rooms.

Property two: Portomaso apartment

Price: £555,000 Agent: Frank Salt Real Estate: 00356 213 81 692 Agent's details: Finished to the highest specifications, this well-appointed, fully air-conditioned apartment measures 240sqm, is served with lift and has a spacious verandah that is ideal for entertaining. There is an entrance hall, split-level sitting room/dining room, large kitchen, study room, three double bedrooms with heated floors, bathroom (en suite), guest toilet, shower and one car space.

Property three: Madliena bungalow

Price: £1,750,000

Agent: Frank Salt Real Estate: 00356 213 81 692

Agent's details: This detached bungalow has an unrivalled location with extensive, magnificent views. Layout comprises an attractive hall, drawing room, dining room, fully fitted kitchen/breakfast/living room, study, four bedrooms, two bathrooms (one en suite), cloakroom, terraces, four-car garage, large overflow pool, garden, and an interconnecting three-bedroomed flat let with living room, dining room and kitchen.

GRAHAME'S ADVICE

"The Maltese Islands have always been popular with British buyers looking for holiday homes or permanent residences but, with Malta's pending EU membership, this interest has been rising. We are seeing more investment buyers and people like Jonathan, who are looking for a better lifestyle.

"The great thing about Malta is it is relatively small, so everything is within easy reach. It is English-speaking, three hours away from London, with several flights daily from all over the UK. The people are friendly and the islands offer all the modern-day commodities we have grown to expect. Naturally, there is excellent weather, great beaches and nightlife. One attraction for families is that Malta has an extremely low crime rate and there's an excellent education system and medical services.

"With Jonathan's budget, his options are wide open. He could go for a character home such as the one in St Julians. These houses are usually 300 to 400 years old but have been converted to modern-day standards. The Village is an upmarket residential area in the heart of St Julians/ Sliema.

"The second option would be to go for an apartment in Portomaso, St Julians. This is an upmarket marina complex made up of two-, three- and four-bed apartments, all with lovely views. The complex includes the Malta Hilton so buyers have use of the hotel facilities. There is 24-hour security and, since Jonathan's wife doesn't drive, she would have everything within walking distance.

"The third option could be to buy a beautiful, detached bungalow in Madliena, one of Malta's most upmarket areas. Madliena is within easy reach of all the shops and supervised school buses pick up the children from the doorstep.This house may be just over their budget but prices in Malta are usually negotiable."

Grahame Salt is the director of Frank Salt Real Estate, 00356 213 81 692, www.franksalt.com.mt

JONATHAN'S VERDICT

"We've now seen all three of these properties. The first house blew us away with its garden, the likes of which the kids have never known, and the pool. But, I think that we'll probably go for the apartment which is an amazing development and fairly similar to what we have in London. This way we'll have access to all of the fantastic five-star facilities. It will also be a ready-made community so we can ease into our new life gently. Then, when the kids are older, we'll probably start looking for a house."

If you would like House Hunter's help, write to House Hunter, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail househunter@independent.co.uk

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