18 Mar 2013
Mauritius has always been an extremely popular holiday destination for South Africans who regularly flock to the island in their thousands for their fix of fun and sun.
But South Africans are also increasingly looking at Mauritius as a lucrative real estate investment destination as part of their financial management plans and expansion outside of South Africa.
Of the foreigners buying into the Integrated Resort Schemes (IRS), 37% are from France, 30% from South Africa and 20% from the UK, according to statistics of the Board of Investment for Mauritius.
Furthermore, the island’s luxury IRS schemes – the smaller RES and larger IRS – offer foreigners the incentive to become permanent residents if they buy a property for USD 500 000 or more (about R4.6 million).
One of the fastest selling luxury resort schemes on the island is Azuri, situated on a stunning beachfront location on the north-east coast. Construction of Azuri started in May 2012 and the first phase (279 residences and a 5 star hotel) will be completed by November 2013. Bucking the trend of other projects, nearly 45% of buyers at Azuri hail from South Africa
Murray Adair, CEO of the Indian Ocean Real Estate Company (IOREC) who is developing the resort, says while the average price for an IRS residential unit on the island is USD 1.6 million, Azuri offers residences from USD 500 000 to USD 800 000. “This has been a great driver for our clients in these challenging times. We are the fastest selling project in Mauritian history,” he says.
He says Azuri is a new and different model to the previous IRS projects on the island and the project’s ethos is the inclusion of everyone; residents, locals and tourists and this is partially the reason behind their sales success so far. "For the first time in Mauritius we will be blending residences for both Mauritian and foreign owners to live side by side. Moreover, the development will include the island's first international school which will allow families to live here long term and provide a good education for their children.”
Adair says Azuri has proven extremely popular amongst South Africans.“Mauritius is increasingly becoming home to foreign high-net worth individuals looking for alternative places of residence and professionals from abroad working in the high-end business sectors.”
Under the IRS there are no restrictions on the acquisition of residential real estate by foreigners, making it simpler for foreign investors from the UK, France, Singapore, South Africa, UAE and other countries to inject money into new projects such as Azuri.
Rhoy Ramlackhan, Director at The Property Annex, a Mauritius based property development services company says Mauritius continues to be most popular among the French, who want to diversify their investments outside of France and avoid the onerous tax levels imposed by the new French government. He says South Africans make up the second largest community of buyers - "they are looking for exposure to stable offshore property markets as a result of the political situation in their country. In relation to the rest of Africa, Mauritius is extremely stable and buyers want the security of knowing that their money is safe”.
Rhoy notes the majority of buyers aspire to prime beachfront locations on the North Eastern and South Western coasts of the island where they can reside all year round, and Azuri is the only IRS project available to match these criteria. "Before 2009, buyers wanted both lifestyle and wealth preservation when investing in Mauritius, as well as the knowledge that their money is in a stable country.
"At the present time, when capital growth remains crucial, the lifestyle and investment elements have become even more important; foreigners want to enjoy a range of activities and leisure facilities with the knowledge that they will easily be able to rent out their property and make steady returns on it”.
Buyers at Azuri will enjoy freehold ownership, the benefit of a five star hotel, over 60 land marine based activities, free boat mooring and a net yield of 5% guaranteed on their investment.
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