Mauritius more affordable
Entry level for leisure property down to around R3m
MAURITIUS has become an increasingly popular destination for both emigration and asset diversification purposes since the Indian Ocean Island opened its shores to foreign property investors five years ago.
Until recently, South African buyers who wanted to own a holiday or retirement pad in a so-called Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS) usually had to fork out at least R6m for the privilege.
The IRS legislation was introduced in the early 2000s to allow foreigners to buy freehold homes in dedicated, resort-type residential developments for a minimum purchase price of US$500 000 (R4,2m). However, average asking prices of most of the 10 or so IRS schemes already approved by the Mauritian government have been closer to the $1,2m (R10m) mark.
But it’s no longer only the super-rich who can afford to own residential property in Mauritius. The country’s real estate legislation was recently amended with the introduction of the Real Estate Scheme (RES), allowing non-citizens to buy in smaller sectional-title type developments situated on a maximum of 10 hectares at no minimum entry level.
Other than the price tag, all the benefits available to foreign buyers in IRS resorts also apply to RES developments, most notably the fact that buyers and their dependants qualify for permanent residency status.
Two RES schemes have been launched to SA buyers in recent weeks, both at starting prices equivalent to around R3m. Pam Golding Properties is marketing Cape Bay Beach Resort, on the north coast of the island close to Grand Baie in the Bain Boeuf area.
SA company 2Tribes is the co-developer of Cape Bay, which comprises 48 furnished two-and three-bedroom apartments (125sq m to 153sq m). Units, most with sea views and private pools, are priced in rupees with a current rand exchange value of between R3m and R6m.
Jonathan Tagg, MD of Pam Golding Properties Mauritius, says 41 units have already been sold, mainly to South African and French buyers. He maintains Cape Bay is extremely competitively priced compared to the Atlantic Seaboard or any other high-end, international coastal resort.
Finance is apparently readily available to qualified buyers at interest rates of between 5,5% and 6,5%. A 5% deposit is required on reservation of an apartment, with 25% percent payable on deed of sale and the balance during the construction process.
The second RES development launched for SA buyers is Emerald Heights on the edge of the Black River Gorges Natural Park, some 10km inland on a hill overlooking the southwestern coastline of the island. Emerald Heights, developed by UK group Mordaunt Estates and marketed in SA by Lynn Estates, is a much larger development than Cape Bay with 300 units planned over eight phases.
The first phase includes 30 fully furnished one-, two-and three-bedroom apartments with shared pools and two-, three-, four-and five-bedroom detached villas with private gardens. Apartment prices start at €275 000 (R3,2m) and villas from €895 000 (R10,4m). Prices at Emerald Heights include all costs as well as membership to a private beach club and an 18-hole golf course at the Mauritius Gymkhana Club.
Stephen Aldridge, CEO of Mordaunt Estates, says about 22 units in the first phase have already been sold to European and SA buyers, with the bulk of sales going to what he refers to as “grey money” – people in the age bracket of 50 years and over. Payment of the purchase price is also staggered, depending on construction stage.
Latest figures from UK property group Knight Frank show that Mauritius counts among the world’s top 20 hot spots in terms of house price growth.
Apartments priced from R3,2m at Emerald Heights in Mauritius.