Most Mauritians, like people from all over...
Most Mauritians, like people from all over the world who have fallen in love with the island, dream of buying a house in Mauritius. Synonymous with success and heritage, i.e. leaving behind a gift for one’s children, or motivated by a desire to emigrate, the purchase of real estate is a project many people hope to get a good return on investment. Even more so when that property is in Mauritius, a country known for its idyllic way of life and political stability. For some insight into becoming a property owner in Mauritius, we spoke to Philippe de Beer, founder and director of the agency Park Lane Properties. Specialising in high-end real estate in Mauritius for over thirteen years, the agency also helps non-residents purchase real estate in Mauritius.
Different size houses and gardens, close to the sea (or in some exceptional cases, right on the beach), private estates, an idyllic environment... The endless possibilities make it easy to find the property of your dreams in Mauritius. “Out of all the foreigners who buy property in Mauritius, France has the highest number of real estate investors on the island," says Philippe de Beer. French buyers represent over 50% of foreign property owners who invest in IRS, RES, PDS ’resorts’, and private estates accessible to non-residents.
There are a number of reasons why they are so attracted by this beautiful country, adds Philippe de Beer: “The climate is of course one of the main reasons, but so is the fact that French is spoken here, there is a relatively small time difference with Europe, low tax (15% on personal income if you become a tax resident, or on income earned in Mauritius for non-tax residents), and the absence of inheritance tax. It’s important to note that if your children pay tax in France, and if a property in Mauritius is their direct inheritance, they will be taxed in France on the inheritance tax rates at the time in France; hence the importance of being well advised from the beginning of the project to acquire local property. Mauritius is also appreciated for being a safe and peaceful country. From young entrepreneurs to couples in pre-retirement or already retired, many people quickly fall in love with the Island... to the point of wanting to settle here! It’s a dream that can become a reality if you’re guided by true professionals. Real estate is accessible, under certain conditions," adds Philippe.
Since 2002 there have been a number of different property schemes in Mauritius: IRS, RES, IHS and PDS. Since December 2016, apartments in G + 2 residences have also become available for non-residents, who have many great reasons to want to purchase property here.
So, who is eligible to buy an IRS, RES, PDS, or an G + 2 apartment?
• An individual, whether a Mauritian citizen or not
• A society incorporated and registered under the Companies Act
• A society whose deed of formation has been filed with the Registrar of Companies
• Limited partnership under the provisions of the Limited Partnerships Act
• A trust (trustee) whose trusteeship services are provided by a qualified director or a foundation under the Foundation Act.
Purchasing a property over USD 500,000 under these different schemes (except for purchasing G + 2 apartments) makes you, your spouse and your dependents under the age of 24, eligible for a permanent residence permit.
The latest scheme put in place in December 2016 allows non-residents to buy an apartment in an G + 2 residence above Rs.6m. Although this plan does not come with a permanent residence permit, it is attracting more and more foreign investors, especially to costal residences. "Our agency currently has beautiful properties near the sea on offer within this scheme; we have a number of rare cases where the land is freehold, which is one of the prerequisites for a request for acquisition by a non-resident to be approved,” confides Philippe de Beer.
For people looking for a return on their investment by renting out their property while they are away from Mauritius for part of the year, Philippe de Beer warns: “Not all properties placed on the seasonal rental market are easily rented; it all depends on their location, local environment, and the rental management of the property.”
Many promise rental income, which sounds very attractive, but in reality this is often far from what was promised. Make sure you are well advised by professionals who will give you objective advice before you make such a purchase. Fortunately, there are, some areas that have very efficient and well-managed rental management programs.