Island lifestyle on private beach
Already a popular holiday destination with close to 85 000 South Africans visiting annually, Mauritius offers property options for the South African market. Michelle Swart finds out more
ASIDE from being an idyllic holiday destination, Mauritius has become an attractive property investment option for many South Africans. This has been made possible through two schemes — the integrated resort scheme (IRS) and the latest addition, the real estate scheme (RES), which allows foreigners to acquire freehold property, residency, business rights and possible eventual citizenship.
One of the latest RES offerings is West Island Resort, located in Black River on the Mauritius west coast.This resort and spa development offers buyers freehold property with direct access to the water in a marina for its residents.
Developer Ross Alexander says that unlike many other developments in Mauritius, West Island is located on the water, which is unusual as most land on the water’s edge is leased land, and not available for residential development.
Consisting of 87 units set within three apartment blocks of three floors each, West Island is set on a private beach clustered around a yacht basin, with a residents’ entertainment area that includes a restaurant, bar, gym and spa, pool, children’s club and marine centre for boating and diving activities.
Alexander says that on-site boat garages will be available to residents, along with a full concierge service.
The development offers one and two bedroom suites, family residences, penthouses and double storey luxury villas, all with direct water access and ocean and mountain views. The apartments range in size from 65m² one-bedroom suites to 280m² penthouses complete with private lifts. The 10 villas, that have full sea views are double-storey stand-alone buildings set on large stands. These luxurious homes have between about 380m² to 405m² under roof.
Alexander says that the penthouses have large entertainment balconies, many with swimming pools and outdoor bar or entertainment facilities so that residents can take advantage of the great outdoor weather the west coast of Mauritius offers.
While all units are sold fully fitted with state-of-the-art appliances and soft finishes, buyer do have a choice of different décor packages for the apartment units.
When it comes to the villas, Alexander says the owners will have a wider choice in terms of finishes and fittings.
“Mauritius has changed over the past few years,” says Alexander, himself a resident on the island.
“Facilities have become more modern and the lifestyle is very similar to SA, making it an easy adjustment for those who want to relocate here permanently.”
He says that well known brands such as Pick n Pay, Checkers, Game and the like are well represented on the island, and the area has excellent infrastructure and amenities.
Tamarin, where West Island is situated, offers residents a selection of schools, medical facilities and entertainment.
Theo Pietersen, licensee of Seeff Mauritius, one of the agencies mandated to sell this development, says: “The RES scheme offers a more affordable property investment option for South Africans. The island’s climate, beauty and proximity (four hours by air) has led to growing numbers of South Africans relocating here, while those with business interests are also growing. Its political and economic stability and excellent fiscal benefits — such as a flat 15% tax rate, lack of forex controls or trade barriers and quotas and unrestricted capital repatriation — contribute to its appeal.”
Pietersen says that the typical island-style architecture features deep wrap-around verandas, overhanging thatch roofs and the use of natural materials and textures such as stone floors and natural timber.
“Neutral white and grey interiors, three-metre-high ceilings and large sliding doors that link outdoor spaces add to the uncluttered seaside feel. Quality finishes include Caesar stone counter tops and integrated appliances. The development also incorporates leading-edge sustainable elements such as solar energy, waste management, local materials, controlled emissions and passive cooling techniques.”
Alexander believes that the West Island rental pool is one of the most attractive return on investment options available to owners. “Most similar schemes in Mauritius have a hotel group running the rental pool, which means higher levies as owners have to pay for all the services.”
He says that while tourism has increased, hotel occupancy on the island has decreased as many visitors are opting to rent out apartments or villas instead. This is one of the primary reasons that West Island has contracted a management company to run the rental pool, meaning that owners only pay for a basic service and tenants are provided with a menu of options for additional services that would be for their cost.
“This keeps the levies low and the rental return higher.”
Pietersen says that finance is available through Investec Bank in SA or buyers can borrow in Mauritius, where 70% bonds are available over an eight-year term at 10% interest a year.
Advertising for this development was only launched last week and 17 units have been reserved already. Price: From about $500 000 Contact: West Island Sales team Derrick Mace +230 423 5072 Johannesburg office — Lyn 083 654 8608 Seeff Mauritius Astride Hardy +230 483 8568