Property favourite

Finweek English Edition - - INSIGHT -

The is­land of Mau­ri­tius re­mains a firm favourite for aff lu­ent South Africans who are in search of an off­shore property in­vest­ment. Tax ben­e­fits, dual res­i­dency, po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic sta­bil­ity, and a qual­ity of liv­ing that is on par with what you will get in South Africa, are some of the in­cen­tives that go hand in hand with the trans­ac­tion. Un­til the be­gin­ning of the Seven­ties, su­gar cane ac­counted for 75% of the Mau­ri­tian GDP. It now rep­re­sents 1%. When the EU an­nounced the phas­ing out of its 1975 su­gar pro­to­col it was a death sen­tence for the coun­try’s big­gest in­dus­try.

There­after, how­ever, a num­ber of ini­tia­tives and ac­tiv­i­ties were launched to di­ver­sify the is­land’s pool of in­come, as well as in­tro­duc­ing a range of poli­cies that at­tracted busi­ness and cap­i­tal.

One of the se­crets to the coun­try’s suc­cess is the de­vel­op­ment of high-end tourism re­sorts in­te­grated in the en­vi­ron­ment. The coun­try is cur­rently renowned for the hos­pi­tal­ity that it af­fords hol­i­day mak­ers but also wel­comes those look­ing for more per­ma­nent res­i­dence.

For­eign­ers can pur­chase property through an In­te­grated Re­sort Scheme (IRS) – an ini­tia­tive of the Mau­ri­tian govern­ment, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Mau­ri­tian Board of In­vest­ments (BOI), which is de­signed to en­cour­age re­sort and res­i­den­tial property in­vest­ments by non-cit­i­zens. For­eign in­vestors au­to­mat­i­cally qual­ify for per­ma­nent res­i­dence for them­selves and their im­me­di­ate fam­ily if they in­vest a min­i­mum of $500 000 (R5.4m) in the IRS.

Added to this, for­eign na­tion­als can ben­e­fit from favourable tax con­di­tions. There is no in­her­i­tance or cap­i­tal gains tax in Mau­ri­tius – it’s one of the few coun­tries that hasn’t im­ple­mented cap­i­tal gains tax and also of­fers free repa­tri­a­tion of prof­its, div­i­dends and cap­i­tal. IRS BUYER PRO­FILE

Mau­ri­tius has one of the fastest-grow­ing economies in Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa and ac­cord­ing to the World Bank’s Do­ing Busi­ness 2013 re­port; the is­land is ranked as the eas­i­est coun­try in which to do busi­ness within the re­gion.

“It’s an ex­cit­ing econ­omy,” says Rob Hud­son, MD of Hayes, Matkovich & As­so­ciates, an SA-based property mar­ket­ing and sales com­pany. “And from a property in­vest­ment per­spec­tive, if that property is un­der­pinned by a strong econ­omy – an econ­omy that is cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for ev­ery­one – then it’s only go­ing to keep the property mar­ket buoy­ant, which is what we have seen over the past five years.”

With the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal, se­cu­rity and eco­nomic risk ex­pe­ri­enced at home, “di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of as­sets is a pri­or­ity for South Africans now more than ever,” Hud­son ex­plains. He notes that po­ten­tial buy­ers (from SA) see the op­por­tu­nity as a form of medium- to long-term in­sur­ance and a form of pro­tec­tion against the cur­rent eco­nomic state in SA. The com­pany is mar­ket­ing two IRS de­vel­op­ments – La Balise Ma­rina and Vil­las Val­riche – on be­half of the Mau­ri­tian Stock Ex­change-listed ENL Group.

Since ENL’s property team came into ex­is­tence in 2007 it has de­vel­oped a num­ber of ven­tures in­clud­ing the Bagatelle Mall of Mau­ri­tius in part­ner­ship with At­ter­bury Prop­er­ties. The mall is lo­cated south of Port Louis and of­fers a taste of home for South Africans with its abun­dance of shops, in­clud­ing the likes of Wool­worths, Food Lovers Mar­ket, Mr Price and Pick n Pay. NEW DE­VEL­OP­MENTS ON THE IRS MAP Vil­las Val­riche, a lux­ury golf es­tate sit­u­ated on the south west coast, has at­tracted a large amount of South African buy­ers. This su­gar-cane farm turned property de­vel­op­ment tar­gets SA’s ul­tra-rich who are in their mid-fifties and look­ing to re­tire in the near fu­ture.

La Balise Ma­rina, sit­u­ated in Black River (also nes­tled in the south­west of the coun­try), is, on the other hand, at­tract­ing younger, more ac­tive own­ers who en­joy the boat­ing and water­sport life­style. It’s the only res­i­den­tial ma­rina on the is­land that has been built solely for for­eign­ers.

Sin­gle-storey and dou­ble-storey con­fig­u­ra­tions at

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