By Bethanie Harriman – EM TV, Lae
Rent payers in Lae City have reacted strongly to statements made by the government, on “not regulating the real estate industry”, as a means to bring down rental prices.
The responses come after Housing Minister, Paul Isikiel, said that the government has no intention to regulate real estate market prices but will instead build more rental accommodation and influence a price drop over the long term.
“I will be seeking cabinet approval to bring in investors to build more houses and influence a drop in house rental prices” says Minister Isikiel.
What this means for the majority of Papua New Guineans living and working in expensive towns and cities is that it will take several years for rental prices to come down.
Isikiel’s intention is aimed at diluting market prices, increasing supply and reducing demand.
Lae Residents have spoken that directly controlling prices would be good for the vast majority of Papua New Guineans. The space between owning a home has also widened.
Minister Isikiel said a partnership program with the Bank of South Pacific would create wealth for people who get loans to buy homes and pay it back over time with interest.
The government funded program is meant to enable ordinary Papua New Guineans to become homeowners through the bank loan.
“The salary bracket will determine what the bank funds, the bank must be happy to fund it because it is in the range to fund it,” says Isikiel.
The housing minister’s comments were made at a time where rentals were priced at an average of K2,000 per week in Port Moresby, and K3,000 per month in Lae, which are unaffordable for the vast majority of Papua New Guineans.
In Lae and Port Moresby, most have moved further out into the boundaries in search of cheaper accommodation.
The places outside Lae’s boundaries offering cheap housing rental to Papua New Guinea’s elites, are often on the fringes of settlements plagued with law and order problems.