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The Mediterranean island of Malta has recorded the strongest growth in property prices from countries in the European Union, and recent news could help see property inflation in double figures for the next few years.
Figures released by the European Mortgage Federation show Malta's rise of over eighteen per cent was higher than both France and Spain.
Two EU countries, Germany and Austria, saw house prices drop, while Portugal, Greece and the Netherlands were barely into positive territory.
And property insiders on the island are predicting that strong growth could be around for a few years yet, giving Malta the potential to be seen by investors as a good place to buy.
Tribune Properties who specialise in property for sale in Malta report that the first quarter of 2006 has seen a good level of activity, with the top end of the market seeing particularly good performance levels.
'The first couple of weeks of January were slower than the same period last year' comments Michael Johnson, Tribune's Managing Director, 'but since then the number of sales has matched last year - a very good one - but villas with an asking price of a million Euros and more has seen increased activity, and a good number of sales'.
Malta Hotels and Holidays
The independent information site for holidays and hotels in Malta www.yourmalta.com also report increased interest in their property pages compared to the first quarter of 2005, with the number of page views increasing by nearly a third.
Sustained property inflation at levels seen in Malta are rarely seen in other countries, but new economic activity on the island could see property demand at good levels for some years to come.
A new 'Smart City' is planned which could see Malta competing with the rest of Europe as a business destination for internet and other high-tech companies. English is spoken fluently in Malta, and coupled with relatively low salaries locally it is hoped that inward investment and 5000 new jobs will help the Maltese economy which in turn will boost the property, hotel and holiday markets.
The tourist industry is vital to Malta's economy, and it is hoped that the arrival of low cost airlines providing new flights to Malta will benefit the Malta holidays industry as well as the many hotels in Malta.
If Malta can combine the attractions of a Mediterranean holiday island with a modern infrastructure and high tech friendly business in a low tax environment, today's property prices could look like a bargain in five years time.
The introduction of low cost flights to Malta from the UK will open up the possibility of more buyers looking at the island for holiday homes that could be used for long weekends, and the Malta hotels industry could reap the benefits of the 3 and 4 day tourist seeing the island as a viable place to visit.
Malta has traditionally seen the majority of her visitors from the UK, but this could be changing to a more diverse mix in future years.
Last year saw a record number of visitors from Italy, and increased enquiries have been received at estate agents across the island from Scandanvia, Holland, France and Belgium, helping to increase the demand for Malta properties.
After some years of wondering how Malta would fit into the modern world, property agents, hotel owners and the Malta holidays industry are beginning to see the future with some optimism.
For Malta information and advice, including holidays in Malta, weather, map, real estate and property, car hire, flights and villa holidays visit www.yourmalta.com
For hotels in Malta including the Qawra Palace, Palm Court and others in Mellieha, Valletta, St Paul's Bay, Bugibba, Qawra, Sliema and St Julian's visit www.yourmalta.com/hotels