Mauritius property market set for construction boom

Reports from African Economic Outlook highlight the residential property market as a sign of the island’s ability to withstand the global financial crisis. Demand for homes in one of the island’s biggest projects, Azuri, backs up the reports, argues its developer IOREC.

Indeed, according to the government, the Mauritian property sector will be one of the main sources of growth this year, providing employment and driving up GDP. A thriving tourism industry alongside political stability will contribute to the construction boom, prompting some sugar estates to convert their agricultural land into shopping malls or residential developments.

“What really sets Mauritius apart from other Indian Ocean islands is that it is far more developed and luxury freehold properties under the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS) in Mauritius are available at far lower price points than in other areas such as the Maldives where properties of a similar standard would cost around $2 million,” Murray Adair, chief executive officer of IOREC, told SA Property News

Azuri is a new and different model to the previous IRS projects on the island. The key to the project’s ethos is the inclusion of everyone – residents, locals and tourists – and this is partially the reason behind our sales success so far. For the first time in Mauritius we will be blending residences for 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.

“Azuri is the only IRS scheme with a price range from US$500 000 to US$825 000 in Mauritius. The average price on the island for IRS is US$1.6m. Although the price is competitive, the quality of the development is on par with buyers’ expectations of the most luxurious international standards of development. Through the IRS, introduced by the Government in 2002, foreign buyers and their dependent families can become Mauritian residents once they acquire property on the island in designated developments, allowing them to also benefit from a 15 percent flat tax rate in Mauritius.”

One development services company, The Property Annex, added that the country continues to be popular among French real estate investors, a demand bolstered by desire to avoid the country’s new tax laws. South African buyers constitute the second biggest group.

“Most buyers look for prime beachfront locations on the north-eastern and south-western coasts of the island where they can live all year round, like the Azuri project, which is on the north east side,” commented Rhoy Ramlackhan, director of The Property Annex.

“Before 2009, buyers wanted capital growth and wealth preservation when investing in Mauritius, as well as the knowledge that their money is in a stable country. At the moment, when capital growth is ever more uncertain, the lifestyle and investment elements have become more crucial. Foreigners want to enjoy a range of activities and leisure facilities with the knowledge that they will easily be able to rent out their properties and make steady returns.”