Accommodation Woe Hits Major Cities

The migration of people into major towns and cities has resulted in shortage of accommodation. The real estate market in Port Moresby, Lae, Rabaul, Goroka and Mount Hagen is faced with an economic imbalance where demand for affordable housing is not met by the current supply of houses.

This has resulted in people turning their homes into rental spaces, but even renting a room or a house is very expensive.

As such, the country’s working population has typically found that owning a home remains a dream of a life-time. Paul Barker recently stated in his article that the main constraint upon affordable housing has been inadequate supply of land with secure title, either for commercial developers, institutions or individual households.

Barker added that it was not actually a land shortage, but land had not been properly administered, with inadequate and uncoordinated urban planning and rigid customary land laws.

Accommodation is not a problem for people with senior positions in public and private sectors in the country but it is for the middle income earners.

According to Barker recent years have seen wealth distribution in PNG increasingly distorted, with the elite able to thrive on appreciating property assets, or secure relatively affordable property overseas, whilst the rest, including most public servants, struggling to find decent affordable roofs over their heads.

However, a good number of private real estate developers have secured land in the outskirts of the city to build quality homes at affordable prices to meet the increasing housing demand.

Many real estate agents are springing up to provide more low end affordable housing but yet the supply of housing they provide to the market cannot adequately cater for the increasing demand.

The government is currently trying to address accommodation problems in the country through its housing initiatives.

On a more encouraging and positive note, the government’s intervention would at least give the hard working Papua New Guineans the golden chance of a lifetime – owning a home.

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Port Moresby

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Australian Standard Units Selling Results

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The newly-developed housing project, namely the Gobuta Street Estate at Tokarara in Port Moresby, has attracted an overwhelming response from the PNG market.

More than 85% of the quality Australian standard units have been presold and bought by customers, the majority being Papua New Guinean home buyers. That means out of 48 boutique units, 40 are sold, while 8 units remain on the market for pre-leasing and or leasing.

National Housing Estate Ltd. chairman Kevin Ahipum described the housing market growth as overwhelming.

He encouraged interested home buyers to pursue commercial banks to obtain finance for the remaining houses.

Mr Ahipum said the units would have a corporate manager to maintain and manage the integrity of the 48 houses – meaning that streets will be well maintained and no unauthorized extension of the houses will be allowed.

Meanwhile, Mr Ahipum thanked the Berkeley Capital and all the key stakeholders that contributed to the success of the project thus far that delivered Australian standard units to the PNG customers.

The other housing projects undertaken by the NHEL are the K800 million Gabutu Palace Project, which will be developed with the Korean Consortiums following the granting of a development license last week, and K3 million Ombudsman Housing at Gerehu Stage 3B to be completed within two months.

Mr Ahipum also commended the residents, especially the youth, and community of Gobuta, or ‘Four Corner’, for their corporation.

“This new development will add a new landscape to this part of Tokarara. As a token of appreciation to the community, we will ensure the field is given the facelift that you can be proud of,” Mr Ahipum said.

Berkeley Capital Group managing director and project manager, Lauchlan Leishman, said that the speed and success of the project to date has delighted him.

“The success of the project has given Berkeley Capital the trust and confidence that the partnership with NHEL is on the right footing and this will go a long way in delivering more quality but affordable houses for many more PNG home owners in the years to come,” Leishman said.

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Gobuta Street Estate

Code of Conduct to Regulate the Real Estate Market

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Real Estate developers and the public have been given an opportunity to comment on the draft code of conduct released by the Independent Consumer Competition Commission (ICCC) at the end of this month.

This is to allow interested groups to be involved in the policy formulation process along with the Government in an important sector reform that will benefit real estate developers, managers and the wider market.

Increase in real estate and property developments in the country has directed the Government through the ICCC and the country’s Think Tank, National Research Institute (NRI), to design and draft the code.

In a recent statement, the NRI highlighted that the code of conduct for real estate developers, marketers and customers was critical for facilitating a viable land and properties market and underpinned the growth of SME and asset creation opportunities for Papua New Guineans.

The draft code of conduct for the Real Estate and Residential Building Industry sectors were included in the 2010 Report as recommendations.

The objective of the code is to provide guidance and protection to the parties in real estate and building industry transactions and to provide protracted litigation, which increases the costs and uncertainties of those transactions.

Such protections also give assurance of price and “getting money’s worth” which should increase confidence in these industries, and thus enhances the efficiency (including proposed transactions) with consumers and small and medium-sized enterprises for land, dwellings or SME properties.

The COC covers developers and vendors of land in the course of business as principal, their agents, property managers and commercial purchasers of land and their agents, in respect to new transactions.

The code includes arrangements for monitoring their effectiveness, need for further development, and to insure all of complaints will receive a proper unbiased hearing and appropriate remedy where justified.

It is believed that once appropriate policies are formulated and enacted, real estate pricing and rentals in Papua New Guinea will be regulated to ensure property owners do not over-price or under-price their property listings to meet the demand.

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Gerehu 3B to offer 40,000 Serviced Land Allotments in 5 years

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Charles Abel, the Minister of National Planning, announced a fund of K5 million to be used by the NCDC to commence major civil works on the planned housing and land program at Gerehu in Port Moresby last week.
The full program, coordinated by the Department of National Planning under the Office of Urbanisation, is set to be launched in partnership with the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, National Housing Corporation, National Research Institute, Magisterial Services and the Civil Registry.

Currently, two pilot models are being implemented under this program: Gerehu 3B and Durhan Farm. Both models are expected to create around 5700 serviced allotments. This equates to 14.25 per cent of the national target for new affordable housing projections.

Gerehu 3B represents the pilot project of the affordable Land and Housing Program which has been embarked upon under the drive of the O’Neil/Dion Government. The program intends to make available 40,000 fully serviced land allotments over the next five years, as facilitated by the Office of Urbanisation.

The cheque of K5 million that was presented to NCDC recently is intended to cover all costs of the housing project’s engineering and road works.

The Government has granted around K11 million towards the Durhan Farm project through the NHC and, thus far, K3 million on Gerehu 3B project.

Out of the K3 million spent on the Gerehu 3B project, PNG Power and Eda Ranu respectively have each received K1 million respectively to begin their work. Another million was given to National Surveyor General in order to survey 1734 allotments and provide for all necessary titles to be issued to new occupants.

The Government has also provided K1 million to each district administration, where Members and Governors are expected to reciprocate an additional K1 million, half a million each from the DSIP and PSIP funds, to build 10 houses per district for each district. This equates to 890 new, affordable houses across the country.

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More Demand for Homes as Population Grows

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Population explosion in major towns and cities in the country has resulted in shortage of accommodation, according to a real estate development agent.
Jinyn Development Ltd’s Sales and Marketing consultant Charles Maino said in an interview that the increase in population in Port Moresby had created a situation where up to 10 people were forced to reside in a three to four bedroom house while others were still struggling to secure their own accommodation.

Maino said that the trend was an ongoing issue that resulted in housing supply problems in the city. He said the situation was adding more pressure on property developers to develop more units to cater for the market.

“We are currently experiencing a housing supply problem. Due to major developments, most people are flooding into the city and the supply of residential properties is limited and cannot adequately cater for the increasing number of people”.

He then added that “developing more residential apartments and units at affordable prices will help address the housing issues not only in Port Moresby but also in other major towns and cities”.

Increase in Home Prices matching the increase in demand

In responding to high housing prices and rental fees, Maino commented that there was no regulatory body to regulate how much property owners should set their rental prices and fees.

He said there was no proper planning in the beginning to regulate the real estate industry in the country and that was why property owners were increasing higher rentals for their properties. Having said that we cannot blame home owner for setting prices that high as they simply match with the supply & demand rule being currently very severe in PNG real estate market.

“This is a general perception but if the government is serious about the real estate industry and especially in addressing housing woes in our towns and cities, it should establish a real estate regulatory body to regulate how much rental fees and housing prices should be imposed on the clients,” he said.

More Government Support Needed?

The similar sentiments were expressed by the newly-appointed National Research Institute (NRI) Director Dr Charles Yala and the manager of Our Real Estate Ltd Stanley Naime.

According to Naime, real estate industry is a big avenue in the country but it had not been given any support or recognition by the Government to lower accommodation rates that had contributed a lot to the housing issues.

“The demand for residential and commercial properties in the country remains high despite the Government initiatives to address housing issues in the country” Naime said.

He said the government should give more support to the real estate developers who were really determined to address housing issues in the country.

He also added that there were complaints from people that prices and rental fees for real estate properties in cities like Port Moresby, Lae, Mt Hagen, Goroka and Rabaul were sky-rocketing.

“Prices and rental fees for real estate properties are determined by the market forces and it will continue to remain high as long as the demand is there”.

“If the Government really cares for the people in addressing housing issues, it has to subsidise certain percentage of the high residential property fees so property owners can reduce housing prices and rental fees.”

“This would help reduce housing woes in the country,” Naime said.

Dr Yala added that the Government’s housing initiative was a welcome news for the people of this country, but many would not benefit as they had no state leases to offer as security for loans at commercial banks.

“Some citizens may have state leases or land titles but that land titles may not be bankable because of the duplicate titles produced by the Lands Department,” he said.

Meanwhile, commenting on recent reports regarding the reduction in rentals due to close of PNG LNG construction phase, Maino said the PNG LNG was only one part of the economy and the close of the LNG construction phase did not really affect the real estate industry in the country, as more people were coming into the country for other business opportunities.

“Apart from the PNG LNG, there are other major developments and business opportunities that are attracting more people to the city to grab business opportunities new developments are creating,” he said.

“Developing more residential properties for high end market will decrease the burden on middle and low end market.”

Though many analysts and commentators expect real estate market in the country to continue to remain flat this year, home ownership rates are forecast to rise when a number of affordable housing developments are rolled out.

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10 Tips on Renting an Office Space

Papua New Guinea’s real estate market is unregulated which means high rental prices are not something new to Papua New Guineans. This not only has an impact on people searching for affordable accommodation but also on small businesses who wish to rent an office space.

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Overpriced rental rates can have a costly impact on small businesses that are just starting out but would like to expand to meet with their clients. As a result, PNGBuynRent is here with ten tips to consider for those who think they are more than ready to sign the lease.

Tip #1: Determine the length of your lease.

It is essential to figure out the length of the lease you are after. Do not be so hasty to just sign any deal that could potentially be the death of your business.

Tip #2: Don’t compromise when it comes to your lease.

As mentioned in the first tip, do not be so hasty to sign any lease. Sign a lease that is aligned with your business’ operations as well as taking into account the present and future.

Tip #3: Do your research on offices that have been left empty.

As always, do your homework on offices that have been vacant. These offices will most likely be below the market rates. Thus, you can negotiate for a great deal and within the lease time frame set for your business.

Tip #4: Stay away from prime locations.

Prime locations may be the hub of business but it does not come quite cheaply. Therefore, by all means stay away from them and instead look at other locations that are accessible to your clients.

Tip #5: Look for inexpensive space.

Naturally, businesses want space that offers a trendy and modern look. However, the whole image of your office does not create more business for you. Instead, it could add an extra and unnecessary cost when you could have found an inexpensive space and transformed it into a contemporary office.

Tip #6: Be prepared to do some work.

The search for affordable and quality office space will not be easy. You may find a space that isn’t exactly up to your expectations but it may cater for your business needs. Consequently, it will call for you to do some “fixing up” so as to create a perfect space for your business.

Tip #7: Consider sharing space.

Sharing space may not resonate well with businesses. But it may prove beneficial especially if your business is still young and wants to cut back on costs. Moreover, sharing with other companies can create mutually beneficial relationships.

Tip #8: Consider leasing equipment and furniture to ease the costs.

Renting may already take up most of your expenses so it is best to consider leasing office equipment as opposed to outright purchasing. The plus side of doing this is you will not be stuck with equipment once it becomes obsolete.

Tip #9: Consult a real estate agent.

As always, talk to a professional to get advice. In doing so, you will be able to align your business’ mission, budget and goals with its property needs.

Tip #10: READ THROUGH THE LEASE.

Last but not the least, it is imperative to always read throughout the lease before you go ahead and sign it. Reading means ensuring that you have complete understanding of the terms and conditions set forth in the lease.

We hope these tips help you on your way towards finding affordable and quality office space.

Do you want to stay informed about upcoming housing projects and important information about the Papua New Guinea Real Estate Market? Then Click Here and you will be informed regularly!

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Top Tips to Sell Your Home Yourself

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There may come a time when you have to part ways with your home. For whatever reason it may be, selling your home shouldn’t be a time for anxiety or stress. Instead, it should be a cause for celebration on making a good return for the sale of your home.
Whilst it is always recommended to rely on a real estate agency for successfully selling a property, some individuals may lack the resources to afford the cost of a REA and might try to sell their own home. As exciting as the challenge may look it also requires the seller to take several precautions to successfully sell the house and secure a positive return. This is why pngbuynrent.com has outlined some tips to sell a home.
1. Nice Appearance

Firstly, what should instantly come to mind when putting your property on the market is whether it is presentable or not. If it is far from well-dressed, then it is your job as the seller (or vendor) to make it look great.

You want attract as many buyers as you can and one important way of doing this is to leave them with a lasting impression of your home. This means giving your home a good scrub-down; decorating your home to give it a fresh and vibrant look; clearing out any junk lying around the property; planting some new flowers or plants and so on.
As soon as you have ensured that your home is scream-worthy of a “Welkam!” sign then you are good to move on.

2. Set the right Market Price

Secondly, just like the trusty-old real estate agent in your neighbourhood, you have to do your homework on your property in regards to pricing it.
When it comes to setting a price for a property, most people tend to set their property prices at what they think it should be worth.

Rule number 1: It’s not what you think the property is worth – rather what the home selling market decides it is worth. Hence, when setting the price be wary that you do not overprice as this will turn buyers away from your property.

Also, it will make other competing homes appear more appealing than your own.

In order to ensure that you arrive at a price that is the true value of your home, it would be wise to do your research on properties similar to your own.
Whether you check the listings in the newspaper or online and even talk to others who have bought or sold properties, in the end you should be able to have a fair idea on what price to set for your property.

3. Hire a Lawyer or Solicitor

Once you have sorted out the price aspect of selling your property, you should then embark on hiring a reputable solicitor or lawyer.

This is for several reasons: one being that your interests are safeguarded throughout the whole transaction; and two being that no legal pitfalls are encountered after the point of sale. Another paramount reason as to why it is imperative to have a lawyer is so that the seller can obtain advice about the aspects of legal documents associated with the sale and settlement of a property. The use of a solicitor guarantees that all paperwork and titles pertaining to the sale of the property would be correct and accessible.

With the aid of your solicitor, these are some of the essentials that should be crosschecked against your paperwork:

  • Check out, compare and interview several real estate agents
  • Compare their marketing strategy, recent sales and negotiation skills
  • Ask for referrals from previous or current clients
  • Ask for their professional opinion as to what the property would sell for
  • Finally ask what their commission is for the successful sale of the property

Having a lawyer to guide you in the sale of your property gives you a great sense of confidence at the end of the day.

4. Market Your Property

Once all legal aspects of the property have been dealt with, you can then market your property while keeping in mind who your target audience is.

Now that technology has reached new and impressive heights, there is no reason why you cannot gain extreme exposure for your property. From writing your own listing ad for the newspaper to putting pictures of your home on social networks, you can put your home in the limelight and ultimately pull in potential buyers.

And when you do find potential buyers, it is now time to negotiate and accept an offer. When it comes to negotiating and accepting an offer, it is important to have your lawyer present with you so that he or she can identify any loopholes or drawbacks with the sale.

In the end, selling a home is not as easy as it seems and real estate agencies definitely take care of the entire process leaving the seller stress free; however, for those who still wish to sell their own home the above are the main steps to take to be on the right path to successful sale.

Do you want to stay informed about upcoming housing projects and important information about the Papua New Guinea Real Estate Market? Then Click Here and you will be informed regularly!

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Tips for saving to buy a house in PNG

Even if you plan to take advantage of the new government programs to help low income families in Papua New Guinea to purchase a home of their own, you will need a down payment. The down payment cannot be borrowed. Savings are essential to buy a house in PNG.
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With the new government First Home Ownership Scheme coming into effect and current government plans to develop more affordable housing, now is an excellent time for anyone in Papua New Guinea to set their sights on home ownership. If you have never before set an ambitious financial goal for yourself, like buying a house, you may need to first learn some basics about budgeting and saving.

How much house can you afford?

If you do not know how much you can afford, you might consider first talking to a banker that can advice about home loans to find out how large of a mortgage you can afford to carry each month and how much of a deposit you will need for a house of that size.

Here are some suggestions on how to get started on this potentially life-changing course of action:

1. Start tracking your monthly expenses

You can start by checking bank statements for recurring monthly expenses, like rent, phone bill and car payments. But, if you are like most people, you do not actually know where all the money goes. So, spend a month tracking where everything goes. Then try to categorize those expenses in a way that makes sense for you, customized to how you spend money.

2. List all of your income and expenses

Take the time to also figure out exactly how much money you have coming in. Start with listing regularly occurring income, such as weekly or monthly paychecks, but do not forget to include other income that may occur less regularly, like quarterly or annually. When you are done, you should have a good idea of how much income you have and where it goes.

3. Look over all the figures

After you record everything, get familiar with the numbers. Try to understand not only where the money goes, but also why it is being spent that way. If you have money left over each month, that much can be earmarked for savings right away. If not, there is more work to do.

4. Run some calculations and set goals

Divide the deposit amount you need by how much you are currently saving each month. That will give you an idea of how long it will take to save it. Or you can run those calculations in the other direction. If you want to buy a house in five years, you have 60 months to save the deposit. Divide the expected deposit amount by 60 to see how much you need to save every month.

5. Figure out how to cut expenses

If you are like most people, you aren’t currently saving as much as you would like or as much as you need to save. Go through the budget and figure out where you can easily cut expenses in order to save more.

Tips and tricks to help you save more:

  • During the first thirty days when you are tracking everything you spend, keep a small notebook and small pen with you at all times. Write everything down immediately.
  • Plan for the worst, hope for the best. Always go with the higher estimate of your expenses, not the lower one. This way any surprises are happy ones, not sad ones.
  • Make it a habit to track your expenses so you know where every Kina goes.
  • Read your bank statements. You will be surprised.
  • Use shopping lists and comparison shopping to help you stay on track with your budget.
  • Try to plan your expenses and avoid impulse purchases.
  • Don’t fritter away your money on small expenses that you do not really need.
  • Put your savings in the bank. Make it inconvenient to access it so that you have to think twice before doing so.

Good luck and happy house-hunting!

Do you want to stay informed about upcoming housing projects and important information about the Papua New Guinea Real Estate Market? Then Click Here and you will be informed regularly!

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Where to Find Affordable Homes Near the Capital of PNG

Our nation’s capital, Port Moresby, has seen tremendous development in recent years. The massive PNG LNG Project has helped boost our nation’s economy and brought with it a large growth in the number of residents of this city. Yet, most of our nation’s land is not available to developers. Roughly 97% is held under customary land laws and is thus unavailable for sale and development under a freehold title. The remaining 3% leaves insufficient room for the amount of development needed in this country. This has put serious pressure on both housing supply and housing prices.

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Humans are very adaptable, so it should be no surprise that some residents have taken to renting out rooms of their home. This has given only modest relief to the pressures on the housing market. For a great many residents, housing prices are uncomfortably high and home ownership remains only a dream.

As is often the case in times of rapid improvement, well off citizens have had no problem getting their housing needs met. It is the middle and lower classes that have been hit the hardest by the meteoric rise in housing prices the past few years.

In recognition of this situation, the PNG government has taken steps to make affordable housing more available with a two pronged attack on the problem. First, new developments close to Town are increasing the amount of housing stock on hand. Second, programs are being launched to help people of modest means to acquire the necessary financing to make their dream of home ownership a reality.

Along the outskirts of the city, quite a few commercial developers have acquired land intended for the construction of basic, decent homes at affordable prices. The general expectation is that these developments will not only help individuals get the housing they need, but that it will represent a big enough change so as to positively impact the local housing market as a whole.

PNG citizens who are actively looking to move and are interested in finding an area with good quality housing should take some time to look around EDAI Town. If you head northwest out of the city, you want to drive past Port Moresby Technical College and also the Curtain Brothers PNG dock yard. This will take you towards EDAI Town.

This is one of the aforementioned new developments on the outskirts of Port Moresby. It is conveniently located along the economic corridor near the PNG LNG Project. There is an excellent highway connecting it to the city, which is a mere 5km away. The Central Business District (CDB) is just 20km away.

This Master Planned community has laid out space for important amenities such as medical care, shopping, and a petrol station. Out of sensitivity to safety concerns, all housing, including affordable housing, is part of a gated neighborhood with guards. Additional plans for the development include such basics as a school, market, and police and fire stations. There will also be a church and landscaping to help promote a sense of community living in the gated community.

The following home styles are available:

Siale: This is a modern two-storey detached home (3+1 rooms). The floor area totals 140 sq m. The land size ranges from 470 sq m to 875 sq m.
Hibiscus: This is a traditional high set home (3+1 rooms). The upper floor is 92 sq m (square meters). The ground level is 70 sq m. The land size ranges from 440 sq m to 650 sq m.
Orchid: This is a double-storey duplex unit (3 bedrooms). Each has a total size of 90 sq m. The land size ranges from 160 sq m to 220 sq m.
Bougainvilla: This is a three bedroom double-storey town house. The total size is 88 sq m. The land size ranges from 94 sq m to 200 sq m.

A happy footnote:

Hard working Papua New Guineans should be encouraged by the general direction that the current government is taking with the housing shortage. They are making every effort to make homeownership more than just an unattainable dream. They are working hard to make it an achievable goal.

Jointly with Bank of South Pacific, the O’Neil-Dion Government launched the First Home Ownership Scheme (FHOS). These loans are from K200,000 to K400,000, which would nicely cover a Bougainvilla or Orchid style home under the current Early Bird Special prices. Eligibility for this program is dependent upon applicants being first time home buyers and also having citizenship in Papua New Guinea. Other restrictions apply. If you are interested, you can speak with a BSP loan officer to learn more.

Do you want to receive updates and detailed information about affordable housing and trends in the Papua New Guinea Real Estate Market? Then Click Here and stay informed!

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Duran Farm Under Master Plan to Guarantee Success

Mr. Benny Allen, the Lands and Physical Planning Minister of Papua New Guinea, went on record as saying that efforts to provide more affordable housing is not a “gimmick to appease our low income earners.” His statement was in response to remarks by Sam Basil, the deputy opposition leader who thinks not enough is being done. As a result, a master plan for new development, including the Duran Farm, is being considered to guarantee the success of the new housing program.
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Allen refuted the assumption that state agencies are not working together. The Attorney-General, Public Service, Lands and the National Planning Minister are on a committee together. Allen indicated that the Lands Ministry has a close working relationship with the chairman. Further, he said “This Government is serious about taking care of its citizen’s housing needs and we have made two land portions available in the National Capital District (NCD), the Gerehu 3B and the Durand Farm at Eight-Mile. Apart from that, we have made land available for the private sector and appreciate what POSF and Nasfund are doing under their housing schemes.”

Official government plans involve reactivating the settlement program in urban areas of the Papua New Guinea. He added that “We are working with National Housing Commission to prepare titles for block holders.” The program under discussion began in NCD at Eight- Mile. It was a pilot project whose goal was to create a proper suburb with public amenities. The PNG government is planning additional initiatives like this one at other small towns, such as Kokopo, Lae, and Mt.Hagen.

City and Provincial Master Plans were suggested to secure the success of the new projects

Lands Minister Benny Allen has taken the position that, in order to avoid future problems, the country needs to develop a master plan. He sent a letter to some of the provincial governors in which he said that PNG’s towns and cities are under development pressure due to a rapid increase in migration from rural to urban areas. Some of the cities under severe pressure include Kokopo, Lae, Port Moresby, Mt Hagen, Madang, and Wewak.

Mr. Allen feels that the real solution is long term planning with an eye towards the future. Master plans are needed to account for the expected expansion of key cities as the country undergoes urbanization. He would like to pursue this by creating planning boards for provincial lands. The governors of provinces with major cities are being asked to write a master plan for every city.

He blames the influx of many new people into more urban areas for pressures on people to “resort to illegal and improper means to secure land for development purposes.” He would like to put a stop to such practices by requiring master plans for each city. This would help raise the bar on development expectations, bringing capacity more in live with expected demand. With luck, it may also resolve the political friction between the two different factions, both of whom appear to want a real solution to this issue. No one benefits from slum housing tracts, not the residents in question, not the city in which they occur, and not Papua New Guinea as a whole.

If you want to stay informed about the Free Land Title Programme and the FHOS along with all the upcoming initiatives from the Government SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER NOW!

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