Foreigners now able to buy homes in Maldives: New York Times

The Maldives has opened a path for foreigners interested in buying homes in the tourist destination, the New York Times reports.

“Until last year only big-brand hotels were able to secure leaseholds on some of the country’s 1,200 islands. But then the government of President Mohamed Nasheed started allowing designated resorts to sell leases to individuals.

“The primary market is the more than 600,000 tourists who each year visit these islands, home to 315,000 permanent residents.

“The leases, which are for as long as 50 years, are first sold to the resort operator, who then sells them as part of a vacation villa package. The leases can be renewed before expiration, but if the government chooses not to renew it has the legal requirement to buy the property at market value. The resale arrangements vary by resort.

“The first company to introduce a residence option was 12 Blues in October 2010 on the island of Lundhufushi, 130 kilometers, or 80 miles, from the capital of Malé. Of the 40 villas planned, 10 already have been sold, and 10 more will be put on the market next year. The resort was designed by the Singapore company, and is intended to include a Franklyn hotel, spa and a variety of restaurants and bars.

“Properties are priced from $2.3 million, or €1.7 million, and owners who want to put their homes into the resort’s rental pool will receive six weeks’ use per year and 50 percent of the net revenue.

“While the ability for owners to arrange rentals has been a key factor in some sales, many buyers have simply always wanted to own in the Maldives, according to Wally Fernandes, a manager at the newly opened Six Senses Laamu resort on the island of Olhuveli, where villas are also for sale.”

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Foreigners to buy property in the Maldives for first time

Soneva Gili is to sell private residences to foreign investors, the first time foreigners have been permitted to buy private residences in the Maldives, according to premium property magazine Countrylife.

The 14 water bungalows on Lankanfushi Island are expected to attract up to US$7 million each.

Each of the four-bedroom houses will be built from renewable and natural materials and will include an over-water pool, sauna, gym and staff quarters for butlers.

The properties will be sold over a 50 year leasehold with an option to extend to 90 years, with a guaranteed gross rental yield of up to five percent for buys who subscribe to resort’s rental programme.