A growing number of South African property investors are turning their attention to Mauritius. We investigate the island property market.
It was Mark Twain who famously remarked: ‘You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and that heaven was copied after Mauritius.’ Indeed, tourists have long exploited the many assets of this 1 865km2 Indian Ocean island situated south-east of the African continent. Its turquoise lagoons and shimmering white sands, its year-round tropical sunshine and its rich, eclectic culture. But Mauritius is a magnet for more than just the bikini set.
A stable economy, steady currency and high global ranking on the World Bank’s ease-of-doing-business ratings system, not to mention an historically safe capital return on investments make the island a sure bet for property pundits. And for those who simply hanker after life in Creole paradise (but without forgoing the conveniences of modern living), Mauritius is home to numerous good schools and hospitals. Towns provide access to all manner of first-world amenities, including a major international airport, which is located 48km to the southeast of the capital, Port Louis.
Real-estate agents based within the island nation, which technically also includes Rodigues, Agaléga and Saint Brandon, report that the local property market has progressed favourably over the past 10 years. There is increasing activity in both residential sales and letting in the popular north, west and central regions. ‘Major residential locations include Curepipe, Quatre Borne Beau Bassin, Rose Hill, Vacoas, Flic en Flac, Black River and Grand Baie,’ says Jonathan Tagg, director of Pam Golding Properties in Mauritius.
South Africans in Mauritius
South African property speculators have been quick to recognise the benefits of investing here. ‘Buying in Mauritius presents the opportunity to tap into your discretionary annual offshore allowance, placing it in a sound real-estate product in a currency other than rands (and hence potentially hedge against the ZAR exchange rate in the future),’ says Nicholas Millstone, a retired venture capitalist who bought in Centre de Flacq on the east coast three years ago. ‘There is also the possibility of creating a property rental pool and so benefiting from an annual return on your investment,’ he adds.
But undeniably the biggest draw card for South Africans buying property in Mauritius is the ‘automatic residency’ that comes with investment in an Integrated Resort Schemes (IRS) or Real Estate Scheme (RES). ‘This has given me the ability to retire on an island that is close to South Africa with good daily flight connectivity between the two countries,’ explains Millstone, who is clearly not alone in having taken advantage of the country’s investor-incentive scheme. Statistics from the Board of Investment for Mauritius show that around 30% of the foreigners buying into the island’s IRS system are from South Africa (37% are from France and 20% from the United Kingdom).
Need to Know
• Call the South African High Commission (Port Louis) on 00230 (0) 212 6925 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Call the High Commission of Mauritius (Pretoria) on 012 342 1283 or email email@example.com
Text: Jocelyn Warrington, Juliet King
• Find out more about the Indian Ocean Real Estate Company (Port Louis) at www.iorec.com
• Find out more about Jawitz Properties (Port Louis) at www.jawitz.co.za/Office/Mauritius
• Find out more about Lexpress Property (Bain-Boeuf) at www.lexpressproperty.com
• Find out more about Pam Golding IRS and RES Division (Grand Baie) at www.pamgolding.co.za/realestate/Mauritius
• Find out more about Park Lane Properties (Tamarin, Grand Baie and Floreal) at www.parklane.mu
• Find out more about Seeff Properties (Grand Baie) at www.seeff.co.za/mauritius.html