REAL ESTATE: The Property Development Scheme in full swing
The Property Development Scheme (PDS) is the only plan which allows non-citizens to acquire residential properties in Mauritius. The PDS is the result of a merger of the Integrated Resorts Scheme (IRS) and Real Estate Scheme (RES), which came into force in 2005.
So far there have been a total of 82 projects approved under the Real Estate Scheme, 12 projects under the Integrated Resorts Scheme and 16 projects under the Property Development Scheme. Another scheme, called the Invest Hotel Scheme, has seen only 4 projects. Under the Invest Hotel Scheme, hotel owners to finance the refurbishment, reconstruction, alteration, conversion or upgrading of existing hotels in operation by allowing them to sell villas, suites or rooms that form part of the existing hotel to individual buyers.
The main feature of the PDS (and of the IRS and RES) is the possibility of obtaining a residence permit upon acquisition of a residential unit, provided the purchase price exceeds the sum of 500,000 USD or its equivalent in any other convertible currency The residence permit remains valid as long as the non-citizen holds the property. In other words, the permit lapses if the property is resold. If not, then the permit is as if a permanent one.
Initially, RES and IRS projects could easily sell their units to foreigners looking to own property in Mauritius. But today a foreigner is also allowed to buy an apartment anywhere in Mauritius, provided the apartment forms part of a block of minimum three levels. The apartment needs not be part of a PDS or RES project. Furthermore, today, there is intense competition in this segment, with more and more projects coming up. The trend is also towards highly luxurious properties with more amenities and services. Projects are mainly located in the north and west coast of Mauritius. However, lately, urban PDS projects are now emerging.
Another amendment to the PDS scheme is that henceforth, developers are not obliged to sell at least 25 percent of residential units to Mauritian citizens or members of the Mauritian Diaspora. This measure has been announced after complaints by developers who could hardly find Mauritian buyers for PDS products.
Some PDS projects
Eco City at Albion
The Samlo Group is developing its ‘Eco City’ at Albion. A project under the PDS at a cost of Rs 1 billion, it extends over 101 acres, not far from the lighthouse. It will be named ‘Albion Eco Village’.
St Antoine Private Residence
Another huge PDS project: The St. Antoine Private Residence, conceived by ENL Property Ltd and Red4, will be developed over 17 acres of land at St Antoine in the north at a cost of Rs 1.7 billion. It will consist of 100 apartments, penthouses as well as 30 serviced plots for construction of villas. The starting price for the apartment will be Rs 19 million. The land plots will be sold as from Rs 3.2 million. The project is expected to be completed by September 2018.
45 Palms at Grand Gaube
The village of Grand Gaube will see a landmark development in its area, that of ‘45 Palms’ with an investment of Rs 450 million. The project will be developed on a land containing endemic trees which will be preserved. Situated next to LUX* 5-star hotel at Grand Gaube, the project consists of 13 luxurious villas, 15 apartments and 3 penthouses. Residents at 45 Palms will be entitled to high class services at the adjacent hotel.
Quay Heights at Caudan
The Caudan area will be graced with ‘Quay Heights’, a new development by United Docks Ltd, a company listed on the Stock Exchange and which owns more than 100,000 square metres of land in the region. The project consists of 99 apartments, one supermarket, restaurants and office spaces.