More residents in Seychelles will be eligible for allocation of state land for residential purposes thanks to a revision made to the land point system established in 2017, said a top official.
The revision was announced by President Danny Faure in his State of the Nation Address in late February.
The minister for Habitat, Infrastructure and Land Transport, Pamela Charlette, said on Monday in a press conference that more people will be eligible to apply for state land due to the revision made to the state land and land bank policy, which has lowered the mortgage ability of applicants from $58,800 to $40,400.
In his address, Faure said,"the decrease is to $880 from the previous $1100. For those applications where the salary may be lower, the ministry will take any savings into account. For those applications that have already qualified for a piece of land, these revisions will not make a difference."
Charlette said that "with the previous criteria of an income of $1,100 and loan affordability of $58,800, we had found ourselves with 226 qualified applicants and now with the revision this expects to double to 451 successful applicants."
The ministry said that this means that from a total group of around 1,841 applicants, 75.5 percent have failed to meet the criteria compared to the 87.7 before the revision.
The minister added that: "This revision does not mean that people with a net income below $880 cannot raise a loan to pay for the land. They will have to demonstrate their ability to afford a loan of $40,400 and their savings will also be considered."
The ministry has also undertaken a consultative process with financial institutions that are funding these loans such as the Housing Finance Company.
Allocation of land for residential purposes to qualified applicants is determined by the land point system. The land point system is based on the following seven points: status of the applicant, age of the applicant, number of economic dependent (children), income, applicant history, loan ability, and years on the waiting list.
Charlette said that the ministry will start allocating land to the 226 successful applicants as from June 2019. There are approximately 300 plots of land currently available.
The unsuccessful applicants have been referred to alternatives such as the self-finance or social housing. The ministry will start its next exercise in the third-quarter of 2019 for new applicants.
The state land is available for sale only to citizen of Seychelles -- a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean -- and once purchased the owner cannot sell the land for a period of 15 years.
These measures have been established to minimise speculations on state land and prevent the sale of government land to foreigners. Land for building homes is scarce and a rise in property prices has been fuelled by speculation of foreign buyers buying prime property.
A revision of the State Land and River Reserves Act in 2014 states that non-Seychellois buyers will not be able to purchase state-owned land in the Seychelles.