Buying real estate in Mauritania as a foreigner?

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Buying property in Mauritania as a foreigner: a full guide

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Everything you need to know is included in our Mauritania Property Pack

Mauritania is an attractive destination for foreign investors looking to purchase real estate. Its picturesque scenery, exciting culture, and friendly people make it an ideal choice.

However, the process of buying property in a foreign country can be daunting due to the various laws and regulations.

No need to worry! This guide is here to make it easy for foreign buyers to understand the Mauritania property market. We'll cover everything you need to know in a straightforward and simple manner.

Also, for a more in-depth analysis, you can check our property pack for Mauritania.

Can you purchase and own a property in Mauritania as a foreigner?

Understanding the nuances of real estate ownership in Mauritania, especially for foreigners, requires a careful look at several factors.

Including ownership rights, residency requirements, legal considerations, and potential restrictions based on nationality.

Firstly, regarding the ownership of land and property, foreign individuals and entities can indeed buy real estate in Mauritania. However, there are distinctions in the rights and privileges extended to foreigners compared to local citizens.

Generally, foreigners are allowed to purchase buildings or structures, but the ownership of the land itself often remains a more complex issue.

In some cases, foreigners may acquire leasehold rights rather than outright ownership of the land. This means they can use and develop the land for a specified period, but ultimate ownership may revert to the state or the original owner after the lease period ends.

Concerning residency, it's not typically mandatory for a foreigner to reside in Mauritania to purchase property there.

However, the process might be smoother for those who have some form of residency status, as this can facilitate better understanding and navigation of the local legal and administrative systems.

Visa or permit requirements for property purchase vary. In some countries, owning property can be linked to residency or investment visas, but this isn’t universally true and may not be the case in Mauritania.

It's important to check the current regulations, as these can change and may also depend on bilateral agreements between Mauritania and your home country.

Regarding special authorizations, purchasing property in Mauritania as a foreigner usually requires approval from certain governmental bodies. This process might involve checks to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations, including those related to financial transactions and land use.

The rules might differ depending on your country of origin, largely due to international relations and agreements. Some nationalities may find the process more straightforward due to existing treaties or agreements with Mauritania.

Minimum investment thresholds can be a factor in some countries, particularly in programs designed to attract foreign investors.

In Mauritania, whether such a threshold exists can depend on the specific type of property and the area in which you're looking to invest.

Can you become a resident in Mauritania by purchasing and owning a property?

Mauritania did not have a specific residency-by-investment program linked to real estate purchases.

This means that buying property in Mauritania does not automatically grant you residency status in the country.

However, this doesn't mean that owning property won't have any impact on your residency application; it can be a positive factor but not a decisive one.

In countries that do offer residency-by-investment programs, these typically involve a clear set of steps. Selecting a qualifying investment, making the investment, submitting a residency application along with proof of investment and other required documents, and then waiting for the application to be processed.

There's usually a minimum investment threshold, which can vary widely depending on the country and the type of investment.

In the case of Mauritania, if you're interested in gaining residency, you'd likely need to follow the standard immigration procedures which may involve obtaining a visa, meeting certain requirements such as having a clean criminal record, proving financial stability, and possibly showing ties to the country (like property ownership, business investments, or family connections).

Regarding the duration and type of residency, countries that offer residency through investment typically provide temporary residency first, which can then lead to permanent residency after a certain period, and potentially citizenship.

However, the specifics, including the duration of each residency phase and the eligibility for citizenship, depend on the country's laws and policies.

For Mauritania, without a specific real estate-linked residency program, the process of obtaining residency and later citizenship would follow the standard immigration routes, which may not guarantee a direct path to permanent residency or citizenship through property investment alone.

As for the number of people who have used such schemes, in countries where these programs exist, the numbers can vary greatly depending on the attractiveness of the program, the economic and political stability of the country, and other factors.

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Market metrics

You can find fresh and updated data in our pack of documents related to the real estate market in Mauritania.

By examining the the the GDP per capita indicator, we can see that Mauritanian people have become 1.4% richer throughout the past 5 years.

If the population's wealth grows, it can lead to a heightened demand for real estate, potentially resulting in price increases in the future.

Looking at the data reported by Numbeo, we can see that residential properties in Mauritania offer yields between 0.8% and 3.5%.

You might know it already but when rental yields are minimal, investors might face challenges in covering expenses related to property ownership, such as mortgage payments, maintenance costs, property taxes, and insurance.

To know more, you can also read our dedicated article: is it a good time to buy a property in Mauritania?

The expat life

Living as an expat in Mauritania can be a unique and rewarding experience. The country is known for its desert landscapes, colorful culture, and friendly people. Expats in Mauritania can enjoy a variety of activities, from exploring the desert on camelback to experiencing the local cuisine. The country is home to a diverse population of Arab, African, and European expats, so there is a great opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and cultures.

The cost of living in Mauritania is relatively low, making it an attractive destination for expats. The country has a wide range of housing options, from luxury apartments to more affordable options. Expats can also benefit from the low cost of healthcare in Mauritania, as well as the excellent education system.

Expats in Mauritania can experience a unique culture and lifestyle. The country has a rich history and culture, with many festivals and events taking place throughout the year. Expats can also explore the desert and enjoy the beautiful beaches and lagoons.

Overall, living as an expat in Mauritania can be an exciting and rewarding experience. The country offers a wide range of activities and attractions, making it a great place to live and work. Expats can enjoy the low cost of living, the friendly people, and the unique culture of the country.

What are the best places to invest in real estate in Mauritania?

This table summarizes some of the best places to buy a property in Mauritania.

City / Region Population Average Price per sqm (MRO) Strengths
Nouakchott ≈ 1.1 million 12,000 - 25,000 Capital city, economic and administrative center
Nouadhibou ≈ 150,000 9,000 - 20,000 Major port city, fishing industry, industrial and commercial activities
Atar ≈ 30,000 6,000 - 15,000 Gateway to the Sahara Desert, historical and cultural attractions
Chinguetti ≈ 4,000 8,000 - 18,000 UNESCO World Heritage Site, ancient trading and religious center
Kaédi ≈ 35,000 5,000 - 12,000 Port city on the Senegal River, agricultural and trading hub
Rosso ≈ 50,000 6,000 - 14,000 Border town, fishing and agricultural activities, cultural diversity
Akjoujt ≈ 40,000 5,000 - 12,000 Mining town, copper and gold extraction, natural landscapes

Do you need a lawyer to buy real estate in Mauritania?

When purchasing a property in Mauritania, engaging a local lawyer can be crucial in navigating the legal requirements and ensuring a successful transaction.

One important document they can assist with is the Purchase Agreement (Acte de Vente), a legally binding contract between the buyer and seller that outlines the terms and conditions of the sale.

The Mauritanian lawyer can also help with conducting a Property Title Search (Recherche de Titre Foncier) to verify the property's ownership status and identify any potential legal issues or encumbrances.

Furthermore, they can guide you through the process of obtaining necessary permits and approvals, such as approval from the local Land Registry or relevant authorities.

They will ensure that all applicable taxes and fees, such as the Property Transfer Tax and Notary Fees, are paid correctly and in compliance with Mauritanian laws and regulations.

What are the risks when purchasing a property in Mauritania?

We've got an article dedicated to the risks associated with purchasing property in Mauritania.

When buying a property in Mauritania, there are several risks that are not common in other countries.

Firstly, there is a lack of legal protection in regards to property rights. Mauritania has no comprehensive legal framework to protect buyers from unfair and fraudulent practices, which can lead to potential losses for buyers.

Secondly, there is a lack of transparency in the property market. Buyers may not be able to access accurate information about the property they are purchasing, which can lead to costly mistakes.

Thirdly, there is a risk of corruption in the real estate industry. Due to the lack of regulation and oversight, buyers may be subject to bribery and other corrupt practices.

Finally, there is a risk of political instability in Mauritania. This could lead to unexpected changes in the property market, which could affect the value of the property.

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Everything you need to know is included in our Mauritania Property Pack

What are the documents needed for a real estate transaction in Mauritania?

When purchasing a property in Mauritania, the following documents are required:

• A copy of the seller's identity card or passport

• A copy of the buyer's identity card or passport

• The deed of sale, signed by both parties

• The deed of transfer, signed by both parties

• A copy of the title deed of the property

• A copy of the tax receipt

• A copy of the property tax receipt

• A copy of the land registry certificate

• An affidavit of non-encumbrance

We review each of these documents and tell you how to use them in our property pack for Mauritania.

How do you negotiate effectively with individuals from Mauritania?

Here are some recommendations for negotiating effectively with locals when buying property in Mauritania:

  • Respect the concept of "Salam Aleikum": Greeting with "Salam Aleikum" (Peace be upon you) is highly valued in Mauritanian culture. Begin each meeting with this Islamic greeting and respond with "Wa Aleikum Salam" (And peace be upon you).

  • Embrace tea culture: Sharing tea is an important social ritual in Mauritania. Accept and participate in the traditional tea ceremony, showing interest and appreciation for their customs. Allow time for casual conversation during tea sessions.

  • Respect for elders and authority: Mauritanian society places great importance on respecting elders and individuals in positions of authority. Show deference and use appropriate titles when addressing people who hold higher positions or are older than you.

  • Building personal connections: Establishing trust and rapport is vital in negotiations. Take the time to engage in small talk, inquire about their family, and show genuine interest in their well-being before discussing business matters.

  • Show patience and flexibility: Negotiations in Mauritania can be slow-paced and may involve multiple rounds. Demonstrate patience, avoid rushing, and be open to flexibility and compromises to maintain a positive negotiation environment.

  • Non-verbal communication: Pay attention to non-verbal cues such as maintaining eye contact and using appropriate hand gestures. Respect personal space and avoid intrusive physical contact unless initiated by the Mauritanian counterpart.

  • Respect cultural norms and traditions: Familiarize yourself with Mauritanian customs, traditions, and Islamic practices. Respect their values, dress modestly, and be mindful of religious holidays and observances that may affect the negotiation process.

  • Value the concept of "Wasta": Wasta refers to the influence of personal connections and networks in Mauritanian society. Building strong relationships and seeking recommendations from trusted individuals can positively impact negotiations.

  • Practice indirect communication: Mauritania has a high-context communication style, often relying on indirect expressions. Pay attention to subtle cues and read between the lines to understand their true intentions and expectations.

  • Engage in social events: Accept invitations to social events or meals as they provide opportunities to strengthen relationships. Show appreciation for Mauritanian cuisine and culture, and engage in conversations about shared interests.

Can foreigners obtain a bank loan in Mauritania?

In theory, foreigners are generally allowed to obtain property loans in Mauritania, subject to certain conditions and requirements, although it remains rare in practice.

As a foreigner seeking a property loan in Mauritania, it is generally necessary to have a valid residence permit, demonstrate stable income, and meet the lending institutions' specific criteria.

Foreigners might try their chance for mortgages with banks such as Banque Mauritanienne pour le Commerce International (BMCI), Banque de l'Habitat de Mauritanie (BHM), and Banque Nationale de Mauritanie (BNM) in Mauritania.

Nevertheless, mortgage rates in Mauritania for a 20-year term range from 11% to 15%, which can pose challenges for borrowers. As a foreigner, it's recommended to explore alternative financing options to overcome these hurdles.

What are the taxes related to a property transaction in Mauritania?

Here is a breakdown of taxes related to a property transaction in Mauritania.

Tax Description Calculation Who pays
Property Tax An annual tax on the potential rental income generated by the property From 3% to 10% on the rental value of housing Owner
Transfer Tax A tax imposed on the sale or transfer of property Approximately 4% of the transaction amount Buyer
Stamp Duty A tax paid to validate and authenticate legal documents 1% of the property value Buyer

What fees are involved in a property transaction in Mauritania?

Below is a simple breakdown of fees for a property transaction in Mauritania.

Fee Description Calculation Who pays
Real Estate Agent Fee Fee charged by real estate agents for their services Between 2% and 5% of the sale price of the property Seller
Registration Fee Fees paid for registering the property transfer Around 0.5% of the property value Buyer
Notary Fee Fees paid to the notary for legal assistance and services Varies between 1% and 2% of the property sale price Buyer

Buying real estate in Mauritania can be risky

An increasing number of foreign investors are showing interest in Mauritania. However, 90% of them will make mistakes. Avoid the pitfalls with our comprehensive guide.

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