Demand for residential property surges on this Indian Ocean island
The World Bank’s ranking of Mauritius as the top African country for doing business is the latest accolade boosting activity in the island’s commercial and residential property market.
WORDS: DEBBIE HATHWAY
Mauritius lies 25th out of 190 countries, ahead of SA in 82nd spot. Construction and real estate is the second fastest growing sector on the island, according to the Mauritius Board of Investment (BOI), with a gross domestic product contribution of 10.4% — just 1.6% behind the financial services sector. The trend is set to continue now that foreigners may buy apartments in condominium developments of at least two levels above ground, with BOI approval. The price? Not less than six million Mauritian rupees (about R2.1m), which does not offer the buyer permanent residency.
This option is in addition to the investment opportunities within an already approved Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS) or Real Estate Scheme (RES), both of which have now been replaced by the Property Development Scheme (PDS). This has relieved developers of the obligation to sell at least 25% of residential units to Mauritian citizens or members of the Mauritian diaspora. A minimum investment of $500,000 (about R5.9m) in a PDS allows investors permanent residency.
“Mauritius is getting busier. People are relocating and setting up businesses,” says Pam Golding Properties Mauritius director Richard Haller, who moved there with his family last year. “What drives this is essentially the ease of doing business from Mauritius.
“The government offers several incentives, including a harmonized tax rate of 15%, tax-free dividends and no capital gains tax,” he says. “And the island is just a four-hour flight from Johannesburg.” Pam Golding Commercial is launching in Mauritius this month to help those wishing to establish a business on the island. “There is so much opportunity here it makes sense to offer a commercial solution,” says Haller. The major areas of residential development remain Grand Baie in the north and Black River or Tamarin in the west, which is home to Tamarina Golf and Beach Estate, La Balise Marina and other high-end developments.
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