Published: Thu Sep 08 2011

Despite the economic woes that buffet the rest of the euro zone, one small EU island Country continues to strengthen and diversify its economy – and this is reflected in its banking and property markets.
For those who don’t know, Malta is a member of the eurozone and bridges the physical and cultural Mediterranean gap between Europe and North Africa.
For 150 years, Malta was ruled by the British and this is reflected in its language and many of its institutions. English is the official joint first language.
Now however, Malta is appealing to tourists and expatriates from across Europe, Asia and the US - not least to the 100,000 or so students who arrive on the island each year to learn English!
Politically stable and largely immune from the worst extremes of climate, the arrival of low cost airlines like Ryanair, Easyjet and Air Berlin in the last 5-7 years has boosted tourist numbers and interest in this small island’s economy and in its property market.
Unemployment on the island hovers around 6%, the fifth lowest in the eurozone.
Banks continue to offer home loans with little difficulty – up to 80% of LTV and the commercial sector can also borrow on attractive terms.
Like many other European countries, Malta found itself in the front line of the exodus of many African émigrés. However many believe that its relatively hard line stance toward illegal immigration will be boosted by the departure of Gadaffi from Libya – who many accuse of using African emigration as a weapon to threaten the rest of Europe.
In recent times, the strength of the Maltese banking system has helped to sustain a growth in long term property values as well as an influx of foreign investment – particularly in the computer, telecoms and financial services markets. Malta has also become a centre for the online gaming market thanks to its skills base and attractive tax regime.
Ray Woods of says,
"This is an island that has relied on the brains of its people to prosper. In the past, many Maltese emigrated to the UK, US, Australia and the rest of the world. Now, with a first class education system, the Country has built a reputation that attracts Companies from the IT, financial services and other relatively high tech sectors.
Tourism has also grown in recent years after a spiral of decline in the cheap and cheerful package tourism trade. Now, it is increasingly about visitors booking their own accommodation – often self catering or and/or opting for 4 and 5 star hotel packages where there has been a growth in investment.
The property market stabilised during the world wide crash, but continues to enjoy strong domestic demand on an island where home ownership is around 98%.
The nature of overseas demand has changed. Many see long letting as an alternative to buying. These are people who previously might have re-mortgaged an existing property in their home country or invested their pension or redundancy money. This has led to some bargains being available at the lower end of the property market - €100,000+.
Properties of €200,000+ are where the main growth has come from in the last 2-3 years with a lot coming from cash buyers, investing in property as a flight to safety. The increase in demand for long letting has also encouraged many to invest in property to secure both long term income and capital growth.
The fundamental driver however is that this is a very small island with a growing population and development land in increasingly short supply. The long term trend in prices is therefore strong – and Malta has a 50 year history of 8% pa growth in prices.
A diversified economy is attracting more and more young people from across the World for a quality of life sadly lacking in many other Countries. Mild winters, months of non stop sunshine and streets safe enough for children to play in, are the cream on the top for a country that offers a high standard of education and healthcare, combined with low crime rates."
Ray will be sharing a stand with Frank Salt Real Estate of Malta at a ‘Place In the Sun Live’ in England at Birmingham NEC from Friday 30th September to Sunday 2nd October 2011. will also be in London (Earls Court) in April 2012. Frank Salt are the largest agency in Malta and attend a number of property shows each year in countries around the World.
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Issued by Ray Woods of Mob: 00 44 7967 6867230
In association with Frank Salt Real Estate of Malta
Contact Name: Ray Woods
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Contact Phone: 00 44 7967 686230

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