Sal is one of the ten islands that make up the nation of Cape Verde, and is one of three sandy islands at the eastern end of the archipelago. The island's name means "salt" due to the fact that this popular mineral has historically been mined there. In more recent times, Sal has led the burgeoning of Cape Verde's tourist trade.
Today, Cape Verde boasts one of Africa's most stable democratic political systems, along with an extremely well-developed legal system based on that of its former ruling power Portugal. Ten years ago, there was relatively little development on Sal to cater to tourists. However, a number of developers saw the potential of the island's warm climate, stunning scenery and exceptional sandy beaches.
The island also had the advantage of being home to Cape Verde's main airport, and therefore the most accessible part of the county. A few choice parcels of land were snapped up and developed into high-quality, luxurious resorts. This led more tourists to discover the wonders of Cape Verde, with Sal at the country's rise to prominence as a holiday destination. Tourism now accounts for 50% of the island's economy, particularly at the beach resort Santa Maria.
As more tourists have headed to Sal, more accommodation has been needed to support them. This has drawn the attention of international property investors, providing a large number of opportunities within a burgeoning market. Fortunately the Cape Verde government was quick to recognise the dangers of overdevelopment and the risk of destroying the scenic, peaceful character of the islands which served to capture the attention of tourists in the first place. As such, they imposed strict restrictions ensuring that only low-density developments and no high-rise buildings were allowed, preserving Sal's character and preventing development from leaping ahead of demand.
Investors in Sal benefit from high projected rental returns and a lot of potential for capital growth as the prominence of Cape Verde in the global luxury tourist sector continues to grow. The country also offers foreign property ownership with no restrictions of any kind – unlike many other destinations with similarly optimistic forecasts – and a favourable tax climate.
A 3% property holding tax is levied on just one quarter of the property's total value each year, levied in two instalments, and an additional 3% transfer tax is payable at the point of purchase. Furthermore, finance from lenders within Cape Verde is readily available to foreigners, meaning that there are plenty of mortgage and credit options on offer to fund property investments – often with attractively low rates of interest.
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