If you are seeking a unique residence, head to Gozo and view some of the unconverted farmhouses that dot the villages. Even though these properties have been around for so many years, the demand has remained consistently strong, as people recognise the unique charm and character of these properties that cannot be captured anywhere else.
Nonetheless, over the years, something has changed, namely the style and finish of these types of properties. “Where before it was all about the rustic, everything-goes look, now things have become more stylish and sophisticated, blending the old with the new”, Gozo branch manager Marie Grech explains.
Nowadays, buyers are after modern comforts, which is why they do away with impractical features of the past such as external stairs or exposed stone which is prone to humidity, particularly on the Maltese islands.
The effect of mixing the old and new could be stunning. While the use of rustic bare stone, cottage-style wooden furniture and spiral staircases is still rampant, many properties are undergoing restoration while preserving the traditional characteristics and stonework.
Marie has been in the property business in Gozo for 27 years and started off with British clients. However, the market has grown exponentially and she now handles clients from all over the world. Over the last 10 years, she has seen a large increase in European buyers, with some houses bought to take up permanent residency. As for the locals, the Maltese buy these properties as holiday homes, whereas the Gozitans purchase them as rental investments.
Marie agrees some exceptional properties have the potential to be turned into boutique hotels, or venture into agritourism. Those that have already taken the plunge offer unique accommodation and a true taste of the character of these houses to the holidaymaker.
Gozo is growing in popularity, what with the positive development on the island, the popular scenery which has been incessantly used as film locations and the laid back atmosphere, which is so coveted in our busy world.