The African island of Mauritius has become the latest exotic destination to attempt to attract investors from the UAE.
Tucked away behind the main stands at the recent Cityscape Abu Dhabi, Royal Park, a planned new resort covering 100 hectares close to the Mauritian capital of Port Louis was pitching its development to UAE buyers.
The resort, which will include between 500 and 1,000 homes, is being built in four phases with a clubhouse due for completion in two months and the first 30 flats – which have all been sold – due for completion in November.
Another 250 land plots have been sold to Mauritians, some of whom have already completed their homes and are living in the development.
The developers, also known as Royal Park, hope to capitalise on a daily, six-hour A380 service from Dubai to Mauritius, which started in 2013 and has led to a subsequent increase in tourist numbers from the Gulf.
The Royal Park team has focused its marketing efforts on the island’s pristine white sand beaches, subtropical rainforest and culture.
“It’s a privilege to live in Mauritius,” says Brett Gregory-Peake, Royal Park’s chief executive. “We’re not an atoll. We are a big destination, albeit an island. We have large townships you can go into, bars and shops. We’re a lively destination and equally we have parts of the island that is this tropical adventure destination. You can take your pick.”
The strategy is bearing fruit. Mr Gregory-Peake says it has already sold three off plan homes to UAE buyers.
The development includes flats, town houses and villas starting from US$450,000 up to $3 million. For that you get a fully furnished home with access to swimming pools, a beachfront and a clubhouse. You can either live in it or rent it out.
The prices are slightly lower than those on the Eden Island development in the Seychelles, which is heavily marketing a similar island paradise proposition to UAE buyers. There, flats start at $500,000 and it is only a four-hour flight away.
Mr Gregory-Peake says a comparison between the tiny archipelago and Mauritius – an island with a population of more than 1 million and the highest per-capita GDP in Africa – is misleading. “The only reason the Seychelles is seen as our competition is perception,” he says. “We’re a very different proposition.”
What kind of return can I expect on a Royal Park property?
On some stock, the developer is offering a rental guarantee of a net 5 per cent for five years.
Where is Mauritius?
Mauritius is a small, mountainous and subtropical island in the Indian Ocean, 800 kilometres east of Madagascar.
Is it safe?
It has a population of Hindus, Christians and Muslims and is renowned for its low levels of civil unrest and low crime levels. The country has a democratic government.
Who buys property there?
The British represent 16 per cent of the buyer market in real estate in Mauritius. About 35 per cent are French-speaking. About 25 per cent are South Africans.
What about tax?
There’s 15 per cent income tax but there is no capital gains tax and no inheritance tax.
Will I be able to get a visa to live there?
The development is in an area where the Mauritian government grants residency for anyone investing more than US$500,000 in residential real estate.
What about jet lag?
There’s no time difference between the UAE and Mauritius.