It was writer Mark Twain who said: “You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven was copied after Mauritius.” With that recommendation, it’s no wonder over 100,000 visitors go each year.
The tropical island, once a haunt for pirates, is now best known as a safe haven with luxury hotels on white sand beaches with volcanic mountain backdrops. It is an island for exploring, with Indian temples, colonial houses, botanical gardens, and opportunities to spot rare birds among soaring ebony trees, walk with lions or swim with dolphins. Mauritians, a fusion of French, Indian, Creole and Chinese peoples, are renowned for their hospitality and visitors to the islands generally rave about the service.
We all see it as a getaway experience, but experts advice purchasing property on this island might be the best financial decision you’ll ever make.
South Africans on the other hand, have always favoured the tropical Indian Ocean island paradise of Mauritius and owning property here is now within reach. For South Africans, a relaxed tropical island lifestyle is no longer just a dream.
Moving to Mauritius is becoming easier and property ownership on the island is more accessible than ever.
MAURITIUS AN ALL-TIME FAVOURITE
South Africans are consistently among Mauritius’s top five tourism source markets. The Indian Ocean island remains one of our nation’s favourite destinations. Mauritius was South Africans’ most searched destination in 2020, when international travel was not allowed, as reported by Google’s Year in Search for 2020.
Many South Africans have been inquiring about living on the island. Property companies on the island report increasing demand from South African buyers.
TRAVELLING TO MAURITIUS
While under lockdown South Africans have not been able to travel to Mauritius because the island closed its borders to international visitors. There has also been an absence of scheduled flights between South Africa and Mauritius.
The airlines which operated on the route — Air Mauritius, South African Airways and British Airways (Comair) — are currently grounded or not offering international flights at this time.
FlySafair recently announced it would begin flying between the two countries in 2021. The low-cost airline will offer two flights a week and has promised its fares will be affordable.
NO-STRINGS-ATTTACHED PREMIUM VISAS
Mauritius is now allowing visitors to spend up to one year on the island. In 2020, the Mauritius government began issuing its Premium Visa free of charge to those who met the requirements.
Unlike other visas there is no age restriction, no minimum education requirement, no medical health screening and no language requirement.
This makes the visa attractive for South Africans or anyone wanting to test the waters before investing in property or a business on the island.
GROWING INTEREST IN PROPERTY FROM SOUTH AFRICANS
Real estate specialist for Sotheby’s International in Mauritius, Isabelle Hardy, said there was a notable increase in South Africans inquiring about buying property on the island.
“During the pandemic, we saw a lower demand from the European market and a high number of property inquiries from keen South Africans,” Hardy said, as quoted in Affluencer.
BUY A PROPERTY IN MAURITIUS
In 2020, the Mauritius government reduced the minimum investment threshold for foreign investors from $100,000 (R 1,48m) to $50,000 (about R740,000). This also makes investing in real estate on the island more attractive to South Africans.
Foreigners wanting to buy homes on the island are restricted to freehold properties.
“Foreign buyers are only allowed to buy freehold land but there is a wide range of properties to choose from within that space. Beachfront and sea-view properties are the most expensive, but those across the coastal road with mountain views, for example, are more affordable,” Hardy said.
Hardy said most South Africans spent about MUR8.5m (R3.17m) on property purchases, while other foreigners spent up to MUR39.86m (R14.87m).
SA PROPERTY FIRM OPENS BRANCH IN MAURITIUS
South African real estate company Rawson Properties has opened its first office in Mauritius. According to Rawson Property Group managing director Tony Clarke, this development will bring more investment opportunities for South Africans.
“Mauritius has become a very popular emigration destination for South Africans, and is also a favourite spot for business relocation and expansion,” Clarke said, as quoted by Affluencer.
A GOOD TIME TO BUY PROPERTY IN MAURITIUS
Hardy said property prices on the island were remaining firm but that the local currency had depreciated during 2020.
Stable property price trends combined with the depreciation of the Mauritian rupee against other currencies create good opportunities for foreign investors.
“Price trends are stable, but demand is low because of COVID-19,” Hardy said.
PROS OF LIVING IN MAURITIUS
Mauritius was awarded the title of “Africa’s most peaceful country” in the Global Peace Index 2019. It is just four hours from Johannesburg by air, and has a stable political and economic climate. This makes it particularly attractive to foreigners seeking stability.
“It has enviable political stability and an impressive track record of economic growth, with very liberal, business-friendly policies and extremely favourable tax laws,” Clarke said.
The island has a year-round warm climate. Its population is diverse, with local people of Indian, European, Chinese and Creole origin. English is widely spoken and there is a large expat community with residents from all over the world living on the island.
Hardy said: “We also have buyers from Great Britain, Reunion, Madagascar, Australia, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland and China. Our buyers range from seasoned investors to seniors coming to retire, to working professionals and young couples looking for a safe, lifestyle-focused place to raise their families.”
Main Image: Fine Country