When it comes to attracting investment –particularly in residential property – it seems the tropical island of Mauritius fails to disappoint.
A vibrant growing economy, low taxation rates of only 15 percent, a thriving financial services sector, ease of doing business and idyllic environment for permanent residence or leisure use all contribute to an enabling environment for investment.
“No housing or property tax, no inheritance tax on properties purchased and no capital gains tax speaks directly to property investors and home buyers, particularly those looking to relocate for retirement or simply a highly appealing lifestyle in a sought after international location,” says Richard Haller, operations director of the International Division of Pam Golding Properties.
“Coupled with this, for a minimum investment of US$500 000 – assuming you retain your property acquisition – foreigners are entitled to a residency permit and may then apply for a Mauritian passport after five years. The low tax rates encourage business formation and naturally appeals to retirees, while the island’s corporate tax rate of 15% has made it attractive to foreign investors. There is also no withholding tax on dividends.”
In addition, due to investment in education and healthcare – factors of import to families and retirees relocating there, Mauritius ranks 63rd on the human development index (HDI), just one place behind Malaysia, and is a well run country, ranking top in the latest Ibrahim Index of African governance, as well as being ranked 28 out of 189 countries on the ease of doing business. It is easily accessible with direct flights to several African countries, including South Africa.
“As a result of all these distinct advantages, Mauritius is drawing an increasing number of global and South African property buyers of high net worth, making luxury property acquisitions from the threshold investment to in excess of US$5 million.”
According to the Africa 2016 Wealth Report released by New World Wealth, Mauritius is home to the wealthiest individuals in Africa, with wealth per capita estimated at $21 700. South Africa follows in second place with per capita wealth of just $10 300.
Also according to New World Wealth, the number of US dollar millionaires living in Mauritius has increased by 300 percent since 2000 to reach 3 200 in 2015, a number which is expected to rise by another 130 percent over the next 10 years – reaching 7 400 by 2025 and making it the fastest growing African market for millionaires over this period. It is estimated that over 400 South African dollar millionaires have moved there since the year 2000.
Mauritius has reinvented itself several times. After starting out as a low-income, agriculture-based agricultural economy, the island developed into an exporter of manufactured goods and ultimately an upper-middle income services-based nation. Now Mauritius has ambitious plans to position itself as the gateway to the African continent.
According to Pam Golding Properties Research, its multi-ethnic society and strong governance give the island nation an edge in its bid to be the African gateway. With trade and investment between Africa and Asia set to grow robustly, Mauritius’ geographical location means it is well placed for this – the island recently invited Singapore to use Mauritius as their regional headquarters to invest in Africa.
Notably, the hospitality and tourism sectors have become a vital economic pillar for the island over the years and are two of the key drivers in advancing Mauritius towards a high income economy in the near future.
Last year Mauritius attracted one million tourists. Government hopes to capitalise on potential in the European and Asian tourism markets while consolidating its traditional hospitality markets. The country aims to reinforce partnerships in the region in order to tap into the ecological tourism industry, renewable energy and digital connectivity.
It has also been promoting commerce and investment initiatives to show that it is more than just a tourist destination. Mauritius is creating an air corridor between Asia and Africa by way of the island and also sees some 30 000 ship movements along its coast – and is thus pitching to become a logistics hub. Providing financial services to Africa is another area in which Mauritius believes it has a niche. This sector is thriving, particularly in offshore banking, fund management and private banking.
No wonder then that in line with the rise of wealth on the island, there are several new luxury developments under construction.
The popular Grand Baie area is especially sought after among those moving to Mauritius, with the flagship development, Mont Choisy Le Parc Golf and Beach Estate topping the hotspot list for mainly French and South African buyers.
Here Pam Golding Properties has concluded over 160 sales at a total value of over US$200 million since the launch of this prime located development two years ago. Says Haller: “We have seen tremendous interest in Mont Choisy Le Parc since September last year (2015) with half our buyers over the past 12 months being from South Africa. An important factor has been Mauritius’s appeal as an excellent place to conduct business from and the ideal country both in terms of financial efficiency and location as the gateway to Africa.
“Other purchasers in this prestigious development are from European countries such as Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. We recently launched 22 Parkland and Banyan Villas, of which 70 percent have already sold, priced from US$1.1 million, and are now launching 27 luxury three bedroom apartments aptly called Fairway Grove, overlooking the golf course.”
Construction in Mont Choisy Le Parc Golf and Beach Estate commenced in October 2015 on both the apartment and villa precincts with delivery of the first units scheduled for June 2017. The construction for all the sold out precincts began in unison in order to avoid a prolonged construction site.
Adds Haller: “Over and above this, we will also shortly be launching a small villa development in Pereybere, also situated in Grand Baie, comprising 26 freestanding simplex and duplex villas of approximately 240sqm, each with a good sized garden and pool – which is very rare in the Pereybere area. Prices of units are expected to start at approximately US$740 000.”
For further information contact Richard Haller on 083 776 0802 or email [email protected]