The sluggish global economy has not left the property sector unscathed, but the high-end estate market on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius is showing remarkable resilience.
Murray Adair, CEO of the Indian Ocean Real Estate Company (IOREC) who is developing several luxury resorts in Mauritius in partnership with Flacq United Estates Limited (FUEL), says while there had been a slow-down in the property market, sales transactions in upmarket resorts on the island remain buoyant.
Scheme encourages investment
Adair says this is particularly true for resorts developed under the Mauritian Government's Integrated Resort Schemes (IRS) which aims to encourage foreign direct investment. He pointed out that more foreign ownership approved units were sold in 2011 than in the whole of 2009 and 2010 combined. Under the IRS, foreigners are allowed permanent residence in Mauritius when they invest $500 000 or more in these designated resorts and they keep this status for as long as they own the property.
"We find that the IRS is definitely encouraging investment on the island. For example, over 50% of the properties at Azuri, a luxury beachfront village to be built on the coast about 25 km from Port Louis on the north east coast, have been sold off-plan since it was launched in September 2011," says Adair.
Tourism the biggest foreign exchange earner
Adair says while the International Monetary Fund in January cut its 2012 growth forecast for Mauritius from 4.1% to 3.8%, the country remains a sought-after tourist and investment destination. He says the tourism sector contributes 15% to the GDP of Mauritius and remains the biggest foreign exchange earner for the island.
"The Government's initiative to further diversify the economy and encourage investments from the Far East, including China, Russia and India will further enhance the long-term growth potential of the island," concludes Adair.