The magic of Mau­ri­tius

Michelle Funke speaks to Ross Alexan­der, one of the de­vel­op­ers of the West Is­land Re­sort in Mau­ri­tius, and finds out how buy­ers can stake their claim in par­adise

Business Day - Home Front - - WEST ISLAND RESORT, MAURITIUS -

FORGED by vol­canic ac­tiv­ity, the 2,040km² is­land of Mau­ri­tius, with its bliss­ful beaches pro­tected by coral reefs, clear la­goons and ar­ray of hol­i­day re­sorts is ar­guably one of the most pop­u­lar hol­i­day des­ti­na­tions in south­ern Africa. This once-poor coun­try whose econ­omy re­lied heav­ily on sugar pro­duc­tion and ex­port, has, in re­cent years trans­formed it­self into one of the most suc­cess­ful economies in Africa. The Mau­ri­tian econ­omy achieved suc­cess through grad­u­ally di­ver­si­fy­ing into the tex­tile in­dus­try and then into the ser­vices sec­tors such as tourism and fi­nance. The ser­vices in­dus­try ac­counts for 75% of the coun­try’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP).

The in­tro­duc­tion of the In­te­grated Re­sort Schemes (IRS) in 2002 and Real Es­tate Schemes (RES) in 2007, which al­lows for­eign­ers to ac­quire free­hold prop­erty for a min­i­mum in­vest­ment of US$500,000, was an­other way in which this is­land has di­ver­si­fied its econ­omy, with real ac­count­ing for 13% Mau­ri­tian GDP in 2011.

Sit­u­ated in Tamarin on the west coast of Mau­ri­tius — a wellde­vel­oped area of the is­land with mod­ern in­fra­struc­ture, ex­cel­lent up-mar­ket shop­ping fa­cil­i­ties, easy ac­cess to schools, good med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties, and en­ter­tain­ment of­fer­ings — is the West Is­land Re­sort. This de­vel­op­ment has been es­tab­lished in terms of the Mau­ri­tian RES, which al­lows for­eign­ers to buy free­hold prop­erty on the is­land, and thereby ap­ply for res­i­dency in Mau­ri­tius.

Ross Alexan­der, one of the de­vel­op­ers of the West Is­land Re­sort — the only RES de­vel­op­ment in Mau­ri­tius to boast a ma­rina — says that there are many ad­van­tages to own­ing Mau­ri­tian real es­tate, in­clud­ing the fact that there are no cap­i­tal gains, es­tate or in­her­i­tance tax. “Mau­ri­tius,” he says, “has a low-tax ju­ris­dic­tion with a tax ceil­ing of just 15% for both com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als.

es­tate of the The coun­try also has dou­ble-tax­a­tion agree­ments with 34 coun­tries, of which SA is one.” Alexan­der goes on to say that the sta­ble democ­racy and solid ex­change rate make for a good in­vest­ment cli­mate, while the res­i­dency op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able through pur­chas­ing prop­erty in a RES de­vel­op­ment add to the ap­peal of the in­vest­ment.

Alexan­der ex­plains that RES projects are sub­ject to over­sight by the Mau­ri­tius Board of In­vest­ment (BOI), and there­fore pro­vide sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment pro­tec­tion to buy­ers. Res­i­dency is at­tached to the own­er­ship of free­hold prop­erty, with an en­try point of US$500,000, for as long as the unit is owned. West Is­land Re­sort will as­sist buy­ers with ap­pli­ca­tions to the BOI for res­i­dency.

West Is­land Re­sort of­fers a range of lux­ury res­i­dences con­sist­ing of one- and two-bed­room suites, fam­ily res­i­dences, pent­houses and vil­las — all of which en­joy di­rect ac­cess to the wa­ter. All units also en­joy ei­ther ocean or moun­tain views.

The re­sort is set on an is­land and has a sin­gle ac­cess point, which, cou­pled with 24/7 se­cu­rity at the main gate plus con­stant pa­trols, en­sures ex­cel­lent se­cu­rity.

Clus­tered around the yacht basin at the heart of the de­vel­op­ment is a res­i­dents’ en­ter­tain­ment cen­tre called Le Sun­set which in­cludes a restau­rant, bar, com­pre­hen­sively equipped gym, spa, in­fin­ity swim­ming pool, chil­dren’s mini club, and marine ad­ven­ture cen­tre for boat­ing and div­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

A wa­ter taxi will be avail­able to trans­port res­i­dents any­where within the ma­rina and to lo­cal beaches. Res­i­dents also ben­e­fit from other ser­vices — room clean­ing, se­cu­rity, block and com­mon area main­te­nance, pool ser­vices, night staff (front desk, concierge) and gar­den ser­vices. Res­i­dents can also se­lect an ad­di­tional level of lux­ury from the a la carte concierge ser­vices: stocked fridges, air­port trans­fers, a pri­vate chef, gro­cery shop­ping and child min­ders, to name just a few.

Prop­erty own­ers at the West Is­land Re­sort can also choose to par­tic­i­pate in an in­no­va­tive rental pool, which will be based on a self­con­tained op­er­at­ing model that is fore­cast to pro­vide a mean­ing­ful re­turn to buy­ers be­fore any cap­i­tal growth is taken into ac­count.

Alexan­der says that this op­er­at­ing model pro­vides the low­est cost base, the high­est re­turn to own­ers and the great­est amount of flex­i­bil­ity. He ex­plains the rea­son­ing be­hind opt­ing for a self­con­tained op­er­at­ing model as op­posed to adding a ho­tel to the de­vel­op­ment: “The last few years has seen de­mand in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try shift from lux­ury, 5-star ho­tels to greater de­mand for value and ser­vice flex­i­bil­ity. Guests want to be able to se­lect the ser­vices they re­quire and not have to pay for ex­pen­sive ser­vices they won’t be us­ing. Tourist growth in the lux­ury self-con­tained mar­ket is ex­pected to sig­nif­i­cantly out­per­form any other area in lux­ury hos­pi­tal­ity, es­pe­cially the lux­ury ho­tel mar­ket.”

“Oc­cu­pancy in year one is fore­cast at about 45%, while oc­cu­pancy is ex­pected to rise to about 65% by year five. This rep­re­sents a con­ser­va­tive ap­proach as the an­nual aver­age in Mau­ri­tius for large ho­tels is 65% oc­cu­pancy.”

Der­rick Mace, head of sales for West Is­land Re­sort says that the south west coast is grow­ing rapidly and prop­erty there is in high de­mand which drives strong cap­i­tal growth. “West Is­land Re­sort has been ex­cep­tion­ally well re­ceived, with only 20 of the 60 properties still avail­able for pur­chase. Fi­nance op­tions are avail­able with loans usu­ally up to 60% of pur­chase price and in­dica­tive in­ter­est rates of 4%,” he says.

De­vel­op­ment the re­sort is well un­der­way, with oc­cu­pa­tion set for De­cem­ber this year.

“His­toric ev­i­dence shows that early, pre­build buy­ers are the ones who ben­e­fit most from the boost in prices once the pro­ject is built,” Alexan­der con­cludes.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.