Seychelles is a beautiful country made up of more than 100 islands off Africa’s east coast in the Indian Ocean. When the Seychelles International Airport opened in 1971, tourism became a significant part of its economy. It’s become such a beautiful and engaging place to visit that there has been an influx of foreigners buying property in Seychelles.
If you plan on living in Seychelles for a significant part of each year, it can be worth buying a home instead of renting property. You’ll save money in the long run, especially when it comes to tax benefits. You’ll also build equity in the property and be making a quality investment.
Buying a house in Seychelles comes with many of the same considerations as purchasing property in your home country. Remember that owning a home means you’re responsible for the insurance, improvements, and maintenance. You’ll be investing money, but it will keep you more tied down than a rental.
Don’t forget to assess the financial side of homeownership. Do you have money saved so you can pay the down payment, stamp duty, and other associated fees? Do you have a reliable income so you can continue to pay off your property while contributing to the local economy?
If you’ve answered all of those questions and are excited at the possibilities, then the next question to ask yourself is: Can foreigners buy property in Seychelles?
How Can I Buy a House in Seychelles?
While foreigners can buy property in Seychelles, there are certain limitations put in place by the government. Certain islands in Seychelles are off-limits in terms of selling real estate, though you could sign a long-term lease if you genuinely desire the location.
The government will need to approve any property sale, so you won’t be allowed to purchase properties owned by the state or sold under the Seychelles Land Bank Program. This program is an application system open to first-time homebuyers with a focus on Seychelles citizens becoming homeowners.
Even other properties on the market will be available for Seychelles citizens before a foreigner can buy them. The foreign buyer and their family must use the purchased property as a residential property only.
If you want to buy a property to rent out, you won’t be able to legally do that in Seychelles. The Immovable Property (Transfer Restriction) Act prevents foreigners from leasing their properties for profit.
If you’re looking for commercial or industrial properties, the government typically grants leases for this purpose. The leases can be as long as 70 years, but rarely is that type of property flat-out sold to foreigners.
There are more than 100 islands that makeup Seychelles, so you’ll have many choices to consider before purchasing your property. Most citizens live on the three largest islands: Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue. These islands are more developed and have more businesses, recreation, and transportation options.
Every island boasts plenty of natural beauty, but unless you’re located on the three largest islands of Seychelles, you might not have much to do. If you’re purchasing property for a vacation home or in retirement, this might be the ideal solution for your life.
Consider what is available on each island in terms of comforts and necessities, as well as how long it takes to travel to each island by boat or plane. Living in a more populated area might not give you the peace you crave, but you’ll have more access to what you need.
Related: Can I Afford to Live in Seychelles?
Steps for Foreigners to Buy Property in Seychelles
The first step after finding a property is to do a title search. When you verify the property with the Land Register in Seychelles, you’ll be able to see if there are any litigations or unpaid mortgages on the property that might tie up your purchase. Looking up the title will also clarify exactly what you’re getting when you buy the property.
If the property is free and clear to sell, you have to apply for permission to buy it. You’ll fill out a Sanction to Purchase form, which can be obtained from the Ministry of Land Use and Habitat. You’ll have to provide personal documents like your passport, proof of residence, a clean criminal record, and proof of funds.
A notary will create the purchase agreement, which must be signed and returned by both the buyer and seller within one month. After the signed documents are returned, an assessor will calculate the stamp duty and send everything to the Registrar for approval.
Sometimes the values submitted are incorrect, which means the documents must be sent to a neutral third party for re-evaluation. This process can take up to two months before being sent back to the notary, who then contacts the buyer to collect payment.
When you’re searching for properties in Seychelles, consider your due diligence. This means you’re checking the property for any structural or technical problems and assessing its environmental impact. While these steps aren’t necessary to complete a purchase, they will pay off in the long run because you’ll know you’ve made an investment that will pay off in the long run.
Many companies can help you buy a house in Seychelles, including real estate agents who can find property for you to consider and pull the title information, notaries who will help you get your documents in order, and more. It might be worth the additional costs to ensure you’re doing everything correctly.
Financial Information for Foreigners
Even when entering Seychelles as a visitor, you must come with enough currency to last your entire stay, so it’s understandable that they also closely inspect your financial situation when buying a property. Foreign citizens need to have a security deposit of at least USD 80,000, so that will be the first financial hurdle you’ll need to reach.
One of the documents you must submit to be considered for a property is a bank deposit certificate that proves you have the financial means to buy the property, build an acceptable home if you’re only buying land, and live comfortably while contributing to the economy.
This certificate can come from a bank in your home country, but you’ll need to establish a Seychelles bank account as well. You’ll have to deposit anywhere from USD 70,000 to USD 150,000 into this account. When the funds are withdrawn, they will be converted to Rupee, the currency in Seychelles.
An easy way to figure out how much you can afford to spend is by multiplying your annual income by 2.5. If you make USD 75,000 a year, you can be eligible for a house that costs as much as USD 187,500. This number is just an estimate; the government will also consider your credit history and any debt you may have.
If your debt is more than 30 or 40% of your monthly income, it could negatively affect what houses you can afford. The general advice is that your monthly house payments should be no more than a quarter of your monthly income.
With the home’s initial purchase, you’ll have to pay stamp duty, which is a transfer tax. Seychelles citizens pay a 5% stamp duty, so the fee is understandably higher for foreign buyers. The stamp duty itself starts at 11%, and there is often an additional 5% transfer tax on top of that.
There is also a 1.5% processing fee paid to the Office of the Principal Secretary once your application is approved. Notary fees will usually be about 2% of the total agreement. These percentages are calculated according to the market value of the property itself, so once you find an ideal property, you can estimate the cost of these fees.
Keep in mind that the buyer pays all of the purchasing taxes and fees, and the seller pays none. This is just something you’ll need to add to your budget and be prepared to pay. On the plus side, there are no capital gains taxes in Seychelles, so you won’t have to continuously pay taxes on your home.
After your initial deposit is paid, the balance payment will be due at a later date. This date can be determined by the buyer and seller but is typically around 30 days after the Transfer of Land document has been signed.
The price of the property depends on where you’re looking for a house in Seychelles. Eden Island and Praslin are two of the most popular islands, so the property prices are much higher. In general, property prices increase by almost 10% each year.
Living in Seychelles
No visa is required to enter Seychelles, so you must meet specific criteria to get a visitor’s permit once you arrive. If you’re staying for less than three months at a time, you won’t have any trouble entering and leaving the country.
If you’re buying a house to become a primary residence, you can purchase residency for five years. This can be purchased for every adult who will be living in Seychelles for longer than three months at a time. Children’s residencies can be purchased at a discounted price.
Some properties cost over two million USD; if you purchase one of these properties, you can apply for permanent residence in Seychelles. You’ll have all the rights as other citizens, except you won’t be allowed to vote.
Even if your property is not that expensive, you can apply for permanent residence after living in the country for ten years. If you stay for an additional two years, you can apply for full citizenship that will grant you voting rights.
Related: Going Fishing in Seychelles
Whether you’re buying a home in Seychelles as a holiday getaway or for a permanent residence, you’ll find so much to love about the islands that make up this country. There is a nice balance of developed property and wilderness ripe for exploration.
The tropical climate delivers warm temperatures broken up by cool breezes and the occasional rainstorm. However, Seychelles is outside of the hurricane belt, so you have a low risk of losing your property to a natural disaster.
Foreigners buying property in Seychelles won’t have too much trouble finding the home of their dreams. More than anything, the process involves a lot of time and patience. The government wants to evaluate people who are moving to their country, so be sure you have all of your documents and funds to keep the process moving.