First generation investors in Mauritian residential property poised to reap exceptional returns

Investing in emerging economies has become one of the hottest global investment trends since the early 2000s, but as these often lucrative markets are very susceptible to vacillating socio-economic stability and therefore increased risk, they are a daunting prospect for many investors.

Situated on the pristine north coast of Mauritius, St Antoine Private Residence is the outdoor enthusiasts dream destination. Priced from R8.2 million, these luxury apartments and penthouses are available in two-, three and four bedroom options. 

One of the few exceptions is Mauritius, which is currently rated by the World Bank as the easiest place in Africa to do business and by the African Development Bank as its most competitive economy in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Mauritian government expects foreign direct investment (FDI) to increase by as much as 46 percent this year and their target is to become a high-income country by 2025, which is defined as an economy with a gross national income per capita above $12,735, by 2025. The island is preparing for it with infrastructure upgrades evident across the board, an efficient public transport system in place and a recently refurbished international airport geared to manage the ever-increasing volume of air traffic.

Timo Geldenhuys, Director of Sotheby’s International Realty in Mauritius, says: “Real estate currently attracts by far the largest share of FDI in Mauritius, accounting for 80 percent of the foreign investment received in the first quarter of this year.

“Statistics from the Mauritian Board of Investments show that that 30% of foreigners who have thus far bought property in the Integrated Resort Schemes (IRS) on the island are from South Africa, 37% are from France and 20% from the UK.”

Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in South Africa says that South African investors are becoming savvy to the long and short-term financial gains of investing in Mauritius.

“Not only is it one of the few remaining countries in the world where the Rand still has value, a significant advantage to buying in property in Mauritius,” says Geffen “is that it allows South Africans to use their Rands to invest in a Dollar-based property market.

He adds that as Mauritius is a member of SADC, South Africans can take advantage of the SADC property allowance which allows individuals to invest in excess of the R4m limit in property without impacting on the designation or extent of their offshore allowance.

The IRS and Residential Estate Scheme (RES) were first introduced to facilitate the acquisition of resort and residential property by non-citizens on the island. International buyers can become Mauritian residents once they acquire a luxury property with a minimum investment of US$500 000.

Last year, the two schemes were merged into the new Property Development Scheme (PDS) to streamline the process of foreign property ownership. The PDS does not differentiate between small and big landowners and harmonizes the registration duty to a single rate of 5% instead of US$70 000 (just over R1 million) on registration of a deed under IRS and US$25 000 (about R360 000) under RES. 

Jacques Nell, Real estate Projects Consultant for Sotheby’s International Realty in Mauritius says: “Lifestyle is an increasingly important factor when deciding where to buy property these days as more and more people are seeking a better quality of life; a more relaxed and secure lifestyle away from the city where they can enjoy quality time with their families.

“And those who cannot yet make a complete break are buying second homes which are not only used for two weeks in December, but as a haven to which they escape as often as possible.”

Nell believes that Mauritius ticks all the boxes, enabling investors to buy their own corner of paradise, especially in the new developments which offer residents an authentic island lifestyle in secure upmarket comfort.

The most recent development, launched for sale off plan by two of the island’s top developers, Red4 and ENL Property, is St Antoine which is every outdoor enthusiasts dream destination.

Situated on the pristine north coast, St Antoine includes access to two idyllic islands; Ile d’Ambre and Ile aux Bernaches, where residents can spend lazy beach days, explore the mangroves or picnic under the casuarina trees. Adventure sports enthusiast are spoilt for choice as this unique area offers the opportunity to enjoy the best water activities, from snorkelling and fishing to kite surfing and sailing right on their doorstep.

Residents enjoy direct sea access and there is an onsite boat park for when they’re not in residence.

Nell adds that there are also myriad amenities within the estate, including an expansive clubhouse, resort-style swimming pool and a dedicated children’s play area. Residents also have access to a deli and bar, a lounge area, a beauty salon and a spa. Situated only 10 short minutes from the hub of Grand Baie, there is also easy access to everyday conveniences and comforts, including private schools and an array of shops, restaurants and bars.

Prices vary from R8.2m for a 150m² two-bedroom unit, to R17.3m for a 240m² four-bedroom penthouse of with a private pool, and almost all the apartments have sea views. Investors can also expect excellent rental returns, especially for short term lets as a growing number of people from around the world regard Mauritius as their holiday destination of choice.

However, it is clear that Mauritius is no longer regarded as only a tourism hot spot but also a destination for foreign investors, and several South African companies have already relocated portions of their businesses to the island to take advantage of the extremely favourable 15 percent corporate and personal tax rate.

Geldenhuys concludes: “Mauritius offers not only social and political stability, a strong and diversified economy and a sophisticated financial services industry, but also an educated and bilingual workforce and a pool of skilled and qualified professionals.”

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