Cape Town - Mauritius has long been a popular tourist destination among South Africans. But now many hard-nosed investors wanting to mix solid returns with a luxury lifestyle are also heading for the tropical paradise.
According to statistics by the Mauritian Board of Investments, 30% of foreigners who have bought property in the Integrated Resort Schemes (IRS) on the island are from South Africa, 37% are from France 20% from the UK.
The IRS is an initiative of the government of Mauritius in collaboration with the Mauritian Board of Investments. It is designed to facilitate the acquisition of resort and residential property by non-citizens on the island.
In 2002 the Mauritian government took the decision to open the market to foreign buyers on a restricted basis, which permits the construction and sale of luxury villas to foreigners in particular locations and subject to certain conditions.
To date, five projects have been completed: Tamarina, Anahita, Villa Valriche, ClubMed Albion and Belle Riviere. Three developments are currently under construction and due to be delivered in 2013 (Azuri, La Balise, and Matala).
Foreign investors automatically qualify for permanent residence for themselves and their immediate family if they invest a minimum of US$500 000 (R4.5m) or more in the IRS.
Property development firm the Indian Ocean Real Estate Company says of the 132 units available under the IRS dispensation at its luxury resort scheme Azuri, which it is currently developing, 92 have so far been sold. Thirty percent of those have been bought by South Africans.
Among global top 20 for ease of doing business
Murray Adair, the CEO of the Indian Ocean Real Estate Company, says a combination of factors makes Mauritius an attractive investment proposition for foreigners right now.
It is among the top 20 countries in the world according to the World Bank Index for Ease of Doing Business. Based on the latest Statistics Mauritius forecast, the economy will grow by 3.4% this year.
Mauritius offers foreign investors a favourable and competitive investment environment. Some of these advantages are:
• A 15% tax rate;
• No inheritance or capital gains tax;
• 100% foreign ownership; and
• Free repatriation of profits, dividends and capital.
“This, coupled with a temperate climate, a stable democracy, a sophisticated financial services industry and the leisurely lifestyle make it an ideal proposition for people from all over the world to invest in,” says Adair.
According to Adair, the IRS have become important stimuli for the building, construction and property sector in Mauritius.
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