By Daniel Hunter

Despite the doom and gloom in the rest of the southern Mediterranean, one small island’s economy remains vibrant.

Bloomberg noted late last year that the number of hedge funds located in Malta had grown from 165 funds with less than €5 billion under management in 2006 to more than 500 with $10.7 billion.

Only a month ago, Malta was chosen as one of the top ten destinations for UK and Irish property buyers looking to purchase abroad by A Place In The Sun magazine. It is also popular with film makers with recent activity featuring both Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.

Speaking ahead of a series of Malta business networking seminars at Harrods in London- and also the launch of ‘ A Place In the Sun Live residential and commercial property show at Earls Court - a UK based Malta property specialist pointed to a host of positive indicators that are helping to sustain a buoyant local property market.

“Malta is primarily a knowledge and service based economy, with tourism a major component -thanks to its glorious weather and great location. The Maltese are a nation who have survived and grown prosperous over thousands of years - thanks to their belief in education and their willingness to work both harder and smarter," Ray Woods of www.maltabuyproperty.co.uk said.

"The use of English as a joint first language has given Malta a huge commercial trading advantage and also provides a haven for English speakers looking to live and work overseas, but desperate to avoid ex-pat ‘ghettos’.

"Malta’s use of its tax system to attract both commercial investment and permanent residents has also proved a winner.

"In the 7 years that we have been helping clients to buy residential and commercial property in Malta there have been major changes. We have seen a growth in flights to and from Malta to all parts of the world and a real reduction on travelling costs. We have also seen an increase in tourism and a greater diversity in the geographical backgrounds of those earning their living on Malta, those relocating there and those acquiring holiday homes.

"Geographically, Malta remains a bridging point between Europe, the Middle East and Africa and many professionals rest up there, often deciding to make it their permanent home.

"Whilst events in other parts of the Eurozone and in the UK have obviously impacted on Malta, the property market has remained relatively robust and without the catastrophic collapses seen in countries like Cyprus, Greece Spain and Portugal and the UK. Bank lending for private and commercial purposes has remained strong.”

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