The high cost of housing in Papua New Guinea makes me angry every time I talk about it.
Reality is our economy (as it applies to housing) follows a model we did not invent. It would work if incomes were higher and rent was regulated (like the price of rice) and made affordable. That’s not the case in Papua New Guinea.
In fact, rent is UN-AFF-ORD-ABLE. Woe to the wide eyed youngster who just graduated with an first degree from one of our very expensive universities. He will never be able to fully afford rent for the next decade of his working life unless he works for a mining or petroleum company.
Port Moresby and Lae rentals that are listed at K800 to K2500 per week. Most workers only dream of getting paid that much per week.
The system needs to change for us. Or we need to defeat the system by finding an alternative that brings down those ridiculously high costs that burden our families.
Here are my tips on how you can build an alternative like a badass guerilla!
- BUILD YOUR OWN HOUSE
Getting land and building your own house is, arguably, the best way to go. It’s like giving a middle finger salute to the high rentals and real estate rip offs who claim to be solving PNG’s housing problems. If more people do it, companies will be forced to lower prices at some stage.
- USE YOUR SUPERANNUATION HOUSING ADVANCE
If you have access to land, use your superannuation housing advance portion to start off the building that you are going to live in. Some will tell you to use that as collateral to get a home loan. You can, if you want to. My advice is, do it the hard way: Be in control of your own destiny instead of willingly enslaving yourself to a financial institution using money that belongs to YOU!
- DON’T BUY KIT HOMES
From my personal experience, I found kit homes to be high cost and low value. On average, a 2-bedroom kit home costs as much as a large 4-bedroom house you build yourself. They are overrated and the marketing makes you believe that it is convenient and cheap for you. It’s not. Don’t be fooled.
- USE BRICKS IF YOU CAN
If you want to build, locally produced bricks can cost K5 a piece. If you know people, you can get them for K3-K3.50 a brick. As a rough estimate, an 8 X 5 meter house (minus the plumbing, and electrical) will cost you about K8000-K15,000. Another simple example, a 2.5 meter column of 30 bricks costs K150. Six columns cost K900. One cement bag costs between K20 and K30 depending on where you buy it. You also need reinforcement bars from Atlas Steel or some other supplier.
- USE SOLAR
Solar kits are cheap and easy to install. Don’t sacrifice quality. The cheapest kit starts from K1500 at Brian Bell Electrical. Wire your house first, then get an expert to install it. A lot of people think of ‘village type’ solutions when they talk solar. power. It’s not just for village type accommodation. You can use it as a primary or secondary power source in town or urban peripheries.
- USE WATER TANKS, DRILL FOR WATER
You can still live in comfort using gravity fed water or by installing a solar pump for your in-house plumbing and using water from your tanks. The other option that can be relatively expensive is to have an expert drill a well for you. It will cost a bit in Papua New Guinea but you won’t regret it. You get an abundant supply of water even during dry season.
Go defeat the system!