Real Estate Property Investment Series: Focus Malta 2007

2005 to 2006 was a very bad period for Malta; the Mediterranean island’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism and in its bid to achieve adoption of the Euro and acceptance of the nation as an important member of the European Union, the government of Malta took their eye off the ball during this period of time and let the tourism industry slip.

The government was also reluctant to expand their aviation policy to allow cheap flight operators in from the likes of UK, Ireland, Italy and Germany and as a result fewer tourists arrived in 2006 and the property market in Malta which is also heavily reliant on tourism trade became stagnant with an oversupply of property stock impacting negatively for investors considering market entry.

Luckily a series of events have taken place to turn Malta’s fortunes around and going in to 2007 everything is looking very positive indeed for the property market and the travel and tourism industry in Malta.

Local citizens dependent on travel and tourism generated revenue for their living rapidly responded to the turn down in tourism traffic, they pushed the government hard to allow cheap flight operators in and their efforts have also resulted in the government announcing a 40% increase in the amount it will invest on the industry in 2007. Prior to this commitment and effort the World Travel and Tourism council scarily predicted that Malta’s government would only expand investment by 0.3% over the next ten years.

Cheap flight operators have forced Air Malta, the national airline, to become equally competitive and in 2007 there are predictions for a surge in tourism traffic. There are no two ways about it, Malta will become easily and cheaply accessible meaning that today’s holidaymaker who inevitably becomes tomorrow’s holiday or retirement home hunter will consider Malta because they know they can come and go frequently for little money and with a good choice of flights available.

As soon as visitors start arriving in high numbers as they are expected to do in 2007, more people will realise just how much appeal Malta has which in turn will push up demand for rental accommodation as well as resale properties meaning an investor has rich pickings in Malta from 2007 onwards.

Malta has so many positives in its favour; it is one of the safest countries in the world, it is one of the most idyllic for retirement, the cost of living is relatively low whilst the standard of living is certainly high, English is widely spoken, there is an active long term and holiday rental market and now Malta is easily and cheaply accessible from the UK and Ireland as well as Italy and Germany. Malta is on the Mediterranean, it has a stunning climate, crime is very low and the standards of healthcare and education are high. The economy of Malta is robust enough for Malta to be edging towards adoption of the Euro in 2008 and politically the island is stable.

For a property investor all of these pluses mean that Malta is now an attractive location to consider for investment and global property specialists Knight Frank have predicted around a 12.5% increase in property prices across Malta and neighbouring Gozo next year alone. So, there is no doubting the potential in Malta and 2007 will be a good year for property price growth and the promotion of the nation to a wider travel and tourism audience.