Business Magazine interviews Philippe de Beer, CEO Park Lane Properties

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"Investment in commercial spaces has become more attractive than residential properties"

Business Magazine, the weekly economic magazine of Mauritius, asks Philippe de Beer for professional real estate advice:

BM: What is your view on the evolution of the real estate sector since the beginning of the year?
PDB: " The local real estate market remains very active. First of all, access to home ownership for an emerging middle class remains one of their primary objectives with access to credit remaining relatively attractive. Secondly, because in Mauritius land has always been a safe investment.

We continue to have a strong demand for land and apartments, but also a renewed interest in homes for buyers who do not always have the courage to embark on a construction project. We also noted a growing interest in the purchase of offices or commercial spaces as investment offering rental returns and we have an interesting portfolio with existing tenants to meet this growing demand. Return on investment related to commercial buying often remains more attractive than investment in residential.

In addition, more and more companies are soliciting us for the sale of their commercial or industrial properties in the context of restructuring or mergers and there are thus great opportunities for other companies which are developing."

BM: Prestigious real estate always seems to have the favors of a more and more demanding clientele. What explains this trend?
PDB: "Like everywhere in the world, luxury real estate will always find its share of buyers. In some prestigious programs that we market, it is often the most beautiful units and the most expensive ones that sell first. It is a trend that is found throughout the world.

In Mauritius, small projects which are well located and offer high-end specifications are fast to sell with a customer base that is very demanding on the quality but also on the delivery timing of the projects. Buyers in the luxury segment are savvy buyers, with experience in real estate investment, and they have legitimate expectations. This is why we carefully select the projects we market and we accompany our buyers throughout the construction process when they buy off-plan."

BM: What are the challenges facing the real estate sector in the coming years?
PDB: "One of the biggest challenges will be to ensure growth with thoughtful town planning and well-designed architecture to avoid developments that will become "eye sores" in the coming years. It is becoming so important that the real estate development of our island, which we can’t stop, is conducted with harmony, urbanism, and respect for our environment."

BM: In addition to buying and selling, what other services does your agency offer?
PDB: "The rental of residential properties, as well as commercial properties (office space etc.) and of course the sale of professional properties (offices, commercial spaces, industrial properties)."

BM: How is the rental market of luxury properties?
PDB: "It represents over 40% of our turnover and it has been the trend for a few years now. Professionals from overseas continue to be seduced by the Mauritian destination as a business destination and we continue to assist many expatriates and their families in their move to Mauritius, not only finding them the most suitable home but also the appropriate office space for those entrepreneurs who are coming to set up their operations in our island."