Maio News, Cape Verde Property
Maio, Cape Verde's Last Paradise…

Maio is becoming the favoured choice for wealthy Cape Verdeans

The Cape Verde archipelago – a collection of 10 islands – was discovered by Portuguese explorers 550 years ago. It was first discovered by UK property investors about five years ago, although for a while a lot of fun was had asking overseas buyers to find Cape Verde on the map.

It is a fascinating and diverse geographical anomaly – the European Caribbean. It is about 300 miles off the coast of Senegal in West Africa; an hour south of the Canary Islands and on the same latitude as the Caribbean. Cape Verde is just a five and a half hour flight from the UK and only an hour ahead of GMT.

The temperatures average out at about 26 degrees, with very little rain and an array of stunning beaches beside turquoise waters. Nine of the islands are inhabited, with four attracting the most tourist interest Sal, Santiago, Boa Vista and Maio.

“It has, like everywhere, been a tough 18 months but a dip in pricing has allowed buyers to take advantage of deals and now is a really good time to buy,” said Adrian Lillywhite, managing director of Cape Verde Property.

”Infrastructure is slowly but surely improving, with new projects for wind farms and solar electricity and improving road systems. There is a long way to go, but on various islands the airports and ports are being expanded,” added Lillywhite.

He picks Sal as the island of investment choice, with a mix of buyers, including around 100 British purchasers.

“New top quality resorts like the Vila Verde resort and the Melia Tortuga Beach Resort and Spa will be finished soon and will add to the infrastructure and quality end of the residential tourism market,” said Lillywhite. You can fly to Sal direct from Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham.

You can pick up one-bedroom apartments with sea views for around 140,000 euros, but studios in town can be as little as 75,000 euros. At the Melia Tortuga resort a two-bedroom resale apartment starts at around 130,000 euros and a frontline four-bedroom villa 500,000 euros.

Tax and legal fees when buying amount to around five percent of the purchase price and capital gains tax kicks in at three percent after the first 30 percent gain.

Paul Akwei, managing director of Noscasa, says the government is attracting foreign investment to compensate for the islands’ lack of exports. It has simplified business registration in Cape Verde and there are various tax breaks available. China in particular is pumping a lot of infrastructure investment into Cape Verde.

“It is an emerging market with a long way to go. People investing here are mostly in it for the long-term and realise their investment will mature as the infrastructure improves. Tourist arrivals are increasing at an annual rate of 22 percent with a projected one million tourists a year by 2015,” said Akwei. Travel and tourism currently accounts for over a quarter of Cape Verde’s GDP.

While Sal and Boa Vista remain the top tourist and investment attractions, Steve Eddolls of agents Topa says the “lush, mountainous” Sao Vicente is also drawing buyers and holiday-makers, with a new airport on the island’s capital Mindelo.

“The tropical beach island of Maio is becoming the favoured choice for wealthy Cape Verdeans and is set to attract international investors,” said Eddolls. You can buy a studio apartment on Maio with an ocean view for as little as 30,000 euros.

Malcolm Lea, director of Positive about Property, points to the political stability of Cape Verde and rising land values and tourist figures as good reasons to investment. Big brand hotels and tour operators are now operating and top quality resorts emerging, but with strict environmental controls to ensure development is low-density and low-rise.


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