For years, the Indian Ocean’s most exquisite islands, the Maldives, have been solely the preserve of hotels. Now, they’ve begun to open up to foreign buyers, thanks to new laws introduced by the pro-enterprise President Mohamed Nasheed, writes Zoe Strimpel for London’s CityAM newspaper.
“Before Nasheed, elected two years ago, leaseholds were too short to attract European buyers – but they have now been extended to 50 years, with plans to extend them to 99 years over the next few years. As a result – with zero income or capital gains tax, not to mention utterly idyllic surrounds – the islands are swiftly becoming an attractive place to own property.
“Of course, there’s always the threat of trouble in paradise – the Maldives were on the 2004 tsunami’s hit list, with several resorts totally wiped out. And, we’ve all heard predictions that the atolls could be under the ocean within a few years.
“Insurance is your main guard against the first concern. Buyers pay a small percentage of the overall insurance cost which is rolled into the annual maintenance charges and equates to 1.5 per cent of the purchase price per annum. Many villas have now also been constructed with tsunami-resistant timber.
“The second worry can be taken with a pinch of salt if you’re so inclined. Some scientists say that if the Maldives are to slip under water, it won’t be for 200 years. So, even if the worst is to happen, you should still have a while to enjoy your luxury villa in sunny Eden.”