South Africans are increasingly dominating the property market in Mauritius – with their buying power contributing to growth in the construction and real estate sector.
This is according to Diane Watkins, executive director of Barnes International Realty in Mauritius.
Foreign investors can get permanent residence status, upon the purchase of property of more than $500 000 (about R7m) within designated Property Development Scheme (PDS) areas.
Moreover, personal and corporate tax on the island is standardised at 15%, and there is no capital gains tax.
Mauritius is also viewed as a hub from which to access the rest of Africa for business.
"SA buyers are not just looking to buy in Mauritius from a financial investment perspective, but from a lifestyle and 'hedging their bets' perspective too," Watkins told Fin24.
"We are even seeing some SA buyers who bought in Mauritius up to ten years ago, noticing that their property investment held its value and now wanting to buy more properties on the island."
SA families are worried about crime and the status of the rand, she says, and the island offers good schools and even tertiary options with international accreditation for SA expats' children.
"This is not just a short-term goal for the SA buyers.
"It is a smoother transition for them, allowing them to decide at a later stage whether they want to leave SA permanently or not. Some even continue running their businesses in SA."
Two villages, one owner
Foreign investors looking at purchasing property in PDS can start more conservatively and still expect excellent medium- to long-term returns, Watkins believes.
Such growth was occurring in the south-east coast currently, she told Fin24.
Most of the land around the Blue Bay and Pointe d’Esny areas – the two villages that front the lagoon in this part of the island – have had a single owner for almost 300 years.
That ownership was consolidated under the umbrella of the Compagnie de Beau Vallon Ltée some 97 years ago and remains intact to this day.
But Compagnie de Beau Vallon Ltée has been a property developer for a dozen years now, apart from being an island agricultural mainstay and a hospitality player.
Its new PDS development, Pointe d’Esny le Village, is the first near the lagoon. The development is an integrated village project close to the ocean, consisting of close to 500 residential units. Apartments are going from around R5.4m, duplexes from R7.2m and villas from between R15.14m and R28.75m.
The south east coast of the island is still relatively undeveloped, and the land owners have taken some time developing a sustainable scheme that would provide growth but also protect the sensitive ecological area, Watkins said.
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