Lae Families Pushed Towards Dangerous City Outskirts

By Bethanie Harriman – EM TV, Lae

Papua New Guinean families are now moving out into the outskirts of Lae, toward settlements where rental accommodation is cheaper.

Bradley Wopai and his family, pictured in the video, stand in front of their rented home along the Tent City area.

Their home rental costs about K400 a month, but it comes without running water and proper amenities such as a kitchen, toilet and shower-room.

The Wapoi family, like many other Papua New Guinean families, have chosen to move out to places like the Background area, Bumayong and Tent City. These places are known for their high crime rate, but cheaper housing rentals.

Within Lae’s commercial centre, the price of renting a decent family home around suburbs is expensive.

Home rental prices are ranging from K3,000 to K10,000 kina per month, more than what any middle-income earning Papua New Guinean can afford for rent.

According to experts, the market can’t be regulated because prices are determined on supply and demand.

There are also ongoing issues of customary land that needs to be utilised by landowners for the development of properties.

The trend now is more Papua New Guineans are buying and renting customary land in the Backround, Miles area and building their own homes.

Living on the fringes of the city means convenient stores, main roads and bus-stops need to be provided by the government to better the communities’ socio-economic welfare.

Sovereign Real Estate managing director, Paddy Tonga, explained that the government needs to dilute the market by building cheaper homes which are affordable for Papua New Guineans.

However, most people feel it is time the government regulates the market to ensure Papua New Guineans can rent and also buy their own homes.

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