This is the first of a series of interviews that will provide a close-up of some of the most prominent luxury properties currently listed with RE/MAX Malta.
James Vassallo, Sales & Marketing Director of Tigne´ Point properties shares some insight about the kind of luxury properties they have placed on the market.
“The apartments at Tigné Point have been designed to offer a variety of different layouts and sizes and planned to capture light on this south facing peninsula. The foreshore designs exploit the stunning views of Valletta, of Sliema Creek or of the open sea, whilst the high rise apartments are planned to enjoy the tranquility of the serene car-free courtyards and gardens situated between the blocks. An extensive use of glass allows the living spaces to be bathed in natural light while double glazing preserves tranquility and has insulating qualities.
Crowning the eastern tip of the peninsula and situated directly on the waterfront, the latest block at Tigne´ Point, T10 completes the South phase of the development and is witness not only to the ever-changing hues of sky, sea and stone but to Malta’s main yachting playground. Some residences enjoy the captivating views of the magnificent Valletta skyline and Grand Harbour entrance or of the foreshore, whilst others overlook an open, landscaped courtyard or the beautifully restored 18th century Fort Tigné.
With interior finishes styled and selected by renowned designer Pippa Toledo, T10 also incorporates a centralised heating and cooling (HVAC) plant which scores very highly in terms of energy efficiency. This is run by SIS ltd, the joint venture between MIDI and Siemens SpA (SIS), which also provides for a sophisticated telephony and internet infrastructure based on fibre-optic technology.
These apartments were very well received, so much so that the bulk of these properties have now been sold with only a handful still up for grabs.”
Recession, slow sales… how has the recent period of time effected sales of your properties, if at all?
“With very few of the stock launched to the market to date still for sale, we have managed to retain our prices and still achieve a reasonable and steady stream of sales notwithstanding the adverse Malta property market conditions. When compared to a lot of other Mediterranean destinations Malta seems to have held its own quite well with the higher segment of the market outperforming much of the rest. It has not been easy – and we are not through it yet of course – but so far our ‘steady-as-she-goes’ approach has paid off and we have continued to sell our properties throughout 2009. Hopefully things will take a turn for the better by mid – end 2010.”
What is the most difficult part of selling a luxury property in Malta, especially a luxury apartment like the ones you are promoting, especially considering that there are others presently on the market which are competing for the same category?
“A lot of boxes need to be ticked before you get a client to part with some 1 or 2 Million Euro for their dream home. Buyers in this bracket tend to be very discerning, have a pretty good idea of what they want and are able to make an accurate comparative analysis of their options – which of course, at these rates, include properties both in Malta and abroad. The first thing you find yourself doing is selling Malta which, to be honest, is not that difficult – especially if you are able to take the client out to experience the islands’ many and varied charms. There are many hurdles to surpass of course, including the usual brigade of ‘experts’ who will shower your potential buyer with a hundred reasons not to proceed with the purchase, even though they have never actually seen the property ! Still the fact that we have now sold 250 of the 260 apartments that were put on the market in the project to date proves that we must be doing something right.”
Who are your typical clients, if such exist?
“The size of the land at Tigne Point is not very different to that of Mdina so, as you can imagine, there are many different styles and sizes of homes within the project. These range from one bed-roomed ‘loft style’ studio apartments to four bedroomed fully detached foreshore penthouses with sprawling terraces and private heated pools. These, and everything in between, have their own markets and potential buyers. The one thing these homes have in common is the convenience factor of this unique destination and the fact that we aim to make them the best properties within their respective categories.”
What do clients in search for a luxury property look out for today?
“One has to remember that most of the buyers for the large seafront apartments are coming from big houses and grand villas and are used to space, light and comfortable layouts. Many of our foreshore apartments are in fact very large by Maltese standards and absolutely enormous compared to flats abroad. The south side of the development is unique in that we built only large apartments on the waterfront. The average apartment size is some 250m2 and some penthouses are 650m2. Many of these have huge terraces for entertaining, high ceilings and lots of light – in fact practically all of them are semi-detached. We have often been told that we have built flats for people who don’t normally like flats. Over the years we have placed more emphasis on the designer elements in our internal specifications and the T10 experience to date proves that this has been very well received.”