Seychelles maintains moratorium on sale of land to non-Seychellois
The moratorium came into force in early 2021. (Gerard Larose)
The moratorium on the sale of land in Seychelles to non-Seychellois for residential purposes will remain in place, said a top government official.
Seychelles Vice President Ahmed Afif made the statement to reporters last week after the Cabinet of Ministers discussed the rationale of the moratorium.
Afif said that in early 2021, the government decided to put a moratorium on the sale of residential properties with foreigners.
"The rationale was that we felt that if this was allowed because for foreigners their means are stronger than for Seychellois, in many cases, they will be able to increase the prices of residential properties if they are allowed to enter this market," he explained.
Afif said that "the government felt the fact that since the demand was very high for residential properties, we wanted as much as possible to allow Seychellois to invest in these properties at an affordable price."
The moratorium will be in place until the government can better understand this market.
"Then we will see what other decisions can be taken. The government has decided to continue with this policy for the time being because we believe that the market is still difficult but meanwhile see what impacts this has on the prices and consider other options, not right now, but in the future," said the Vice President.
Foreigners who own property in Seychelles are paying Immoveable Property Tax which is a tax assessed on real estate and usually based on the value of the property. The tax came into force on December 31, 2020.
Land for building homes in Seychelles, with a population of 100,000, is scarce and there has been a hike in property prices which was fuelled by speculation of foreign buyers buying prime property.
The Indian Ocean archipelago of 115 islands has a total land area of 455 square kilometres spread over an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 km. Half of the Seychelles' land territory is protected under law as nature reserves.