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AfricaMoney | August 20, 2017

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Mauritius launches Housing Empowerment Scheme for middle-income families

Mauritius launches Housing Empowerment Scheme for middle-income families

The Home Ownership Programme is geared especially towards families who cannot afford to have a home of their own because of financial constraints or because they cannot mobilize the necessary down-payment to qualify for a bank loan. (Image: Government of Mauritius)

Middle-income families in Mauritius that dream of owning a home now have the backing of the government to make their dream come true.

The Housing Empowerment Scheme meant to support middle-income families earning monthly revenue of up to Rs 50,000 to own a house was launched last week by Mauritius Finance Minister Xavier-Luc Duval.

The scheme has a dual objective. First up, the government is intervening to reduce the down-payment required by banks and other lending institutions to provide a housing loan and secondly, providing help with reducing the cost of a housing unit.

State Bank of Mauritius, Mauritius Commercial Bank, Mauritius Post and Cooperative Bank, ABC Banking Corporation, Barclays Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank One, State Bank of India, Bramer Bank, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Habib Bank and Banque des Mascareignes are involved in this project.

The Mauritius Housing Company and the Mauritius Bankers’ Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining the agreed conditions between the government and the commercial banks.

The criterion set under the Housing Empowerment scheme is that banks will require only 5% as minimum down-payment on the purchase of a property instead of the usual 10% or more that is currently applicable.

The housing unit should be of 1,500 square feet with a construction cost not exceeding Rs 2.5 million. Banks will advance loans up to 95 per cent of the cost of a residential unit.

The loans will also carry a moratorium period of 2 years on capital repayment, where government is guaranteeing 20 per cent of the loan amount.

To reduce the cost of acquiring a unit, government is also reimbursing VAT up to an amount of Rs 300,000 on the construction of any house or purchase of an apartment costing less than Rs 2.5 million.

In his address, Duval pointed out that the housing scheme, which was announced in the 2014 Budget speech, is in line with the government’s vision to ensure that all citizens in Mauritius have a house that provides decent living conditions.

Figures compiled by Statistics Mauritius show that 89% families in Mauritius own a house, he added.

Furthermore, he made an appeal to eligible citizens to avail of this facility.

The Home Ownership Programme is geared especially towards families who cannot afford to have a home of their own because of financial constraints or because they cannot mobilize the necessary down-payment to qualify for a bank loan.

In addition, the programme also aims at giving a boost to the construction sector.

In line with the programme, and as a mean to facilitate construction and save on costs, the Mauritius Housing Company is providing on its website at least 12 types of architectural plans free of charge for each house of an area of 1,000 and 1,200 square feet.

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