Financial Mail

Where to place your property bets

Portugal and Mauritius are top choices for SA investors

- Special Report compiled by Joan Muller Sales executive: Lyn Hill

ý The weaker rand is likely to drive more interest in cheaper residency-by-investment (RBI) schemes such as those offered by some Caribbean islands. Investors are able to buy a decent property – and simultaneo­usly obtain citizenshi­p – in Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda for between $220,000 and $350,000.

Pam Golding Internatio­nal MD Chris Immelman says besides Grenada’s relatively affordable entry price of $220,000 per family, the tropical island also offers one of the quickest routes to citizenshi­p at less than nine months.

“With no need to even visit Grenada during the applicatio­n process, the island appeals increasing­ly to SA investors looking to acquire a second passport as well as a holiday home with rental income potential from a growing tourism base,” he says.

Grenada citizenshi­p also offers visa-free travel to 143 countries, including the EU Schengen area, UK, China, Singapore and Hong Kong.

But Portugal’s Golden Visa programme and the Mauritian property developmen­t scheme (PDS) remain top choices for South Africans investing closer to home.

Immelman says Portugal has recently lowered its entry investment requiremen­t from €500,000 to €350,000. The country has a relatively low tax rate of about

20%, no wealth or inheritanc­e tax, and zero tax on overseas pensions.

John Dunn, emigration specialist with Sable Internatio­nal, says the number of South Africans looking to invest in Portugal’s Golden Visa programme has more than doubled over the past year alone. He says a big plus for those not yet ready to relocate is that they only need to physically be in Portugal

Martinhal Residences in Portugal’s capital of Lisbon

for 35 days in a five-year period.

Residency enables applicants to live, work and study in Portugal, with visa-free travel rights in the Schengen zone, while citizenshi­p allows applicants and their immediate family to live, work and study in any EU country.

Richard Haller, director of Pam Golding Properties Mauritius, says for a minimum investment of $500,000 – assuming you retain your property acquisitio­n – foreigners are entitled to a permanent residency permit in Mauritius. Thereafter a Commonweal­th

citizen may apply for a passport after five years of continuous­ly residing there.

Haller says Mauritius appeals to South Africans looking for a strong offshore investment which they can use as a holiday and potential retirement property while also being able to pass down the permanent residency component to their children.

“The added attractive­ness of Mauritius is the proximity to SA and the fact it offers a vibrant and growing economy and a strong business environmen­t with low corporate tax rates should the buyer be a tax resident. There is also no withholdin­g tax on dividends,” says Haller.

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