Mauritian marina development reports strong sales

Johannesburg, 30 September 2009 - The recently launched La Balise Marina development in Mauritius has reported strong sales of residential units on the back of a stronger rand and the continued aversion South African investors have to local property.

"Due to the current strength in the rand investors are looking to get into dollar based assets, and Mauritian property offers the ideal investment," says Rob Hudson, managing director at Hayes, Matkovich and Associates, the development's local promoter. "We currently have 49 properties reserved and in the sales process since launching the development in South Africa at the beginning of August. There are a number of international buyers who have secured a property in the development, but currently the majority of investors are South African, with 52% of sales in process coming from this country."

The Mauritian property market has defied the global trend of deflated property values due to Mauritius' continued economic growth and innovative Government polices that support this property market trend. "This can largely be attributed to the Mauritian government's progressive approach to encouraging foreign investment," says Hudson. Various initiatives have been implemented, like the Integrated Resorts Scheme (IRS), which offers foreign buyers of luxury, freehold title residential property over US$500,000 permanent residency in the country. Currently no one who has invested into Mauritian IRS property has resold their villa for less than the acquired value. "The situation is quite the contrary in fact, as only in the region of 10 of the 350 odd foreigner owners have resold their property since the IRS scheme's inception, and these parties have all realized substantial returns," says Hudson. "This is a scenario very few, if any international property markets can lay claim to in recent times."

Additionally, as Mauritius forms part of SADC, South Africans wanting to purchase property in Mauritius are not subject to the R2m foreign investment allowance. This affords the opportunity to own a second home in an internationally emerging, foreign currency based property market, offering a rand hedge to investors without any investment cap or associated limitation of the R2 million personal offshore allowances."

Hudson also attributes sales to the uniqueness of the offering. "La Balise Marina is the first IRS development of its kind on the island, and the first to offer foreign buyers the opportunity to own freehold title property on the water's edge," he explains. The development, being developed by ENL Property and Investec (Mauritius) Bank, will consist of 118 residential units, ranging from 135m2 canal duplexes to 350m2 villas.

"An additional factor that is attracting a great deal of interest in the development is the rental pool which will be managed by the Island Grace hotel, the boutique Grace branded hotel being developed on the site," continues Hudson. "The rental pool will offer purchasers the opportunity to benefit from a regular return on their investment as it will be drawn from a communal managed rental pool. Therefore when the home is not been used by the owner for holiday purposes, it becomes a working asset, which further justifies the investment"

Dredging of the marina and infrastructure development will commence in November 2009, with home and Island Grace Hotel construction commencing early in 2010. Pricing for the duplexes ranges from US$700 000 to US$1.6 million while the freestanding villas range from US$2.1 million to US $2.8 million

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