For the majority of Papua New Guineans living in Port Moresby, providing a home for their families is only a dream as housing has become a luxury that only the rich can afford.
Many families are forced to rent out single rooms for between K500 to K800 with common shared facilities like bathrooms, toilets and kitchens. Others move to the many settlements scattered around the city where houses can be rented for up to K1500 fortnightly.
But it wasn’t always like this.
I was born and raised in Port Moresby and back in the 90’s when I was young, we used to live at Henao Drive in Gordons in a two two bedroom, two storey house with a bathroom upstairs, a large dinning room and living room downstairs. The backyard was huge. We had a small duck pond and a BBQ place with a basketball court in the back. How did much my father pay fortnightly? Less than K300.
Houses, at that time, were being sold for between K10, 000 and K20, 000 at the new rainbow suburb in Port Moresby’s North-East electorate. Fast Forward to the year 2000 and boom! The housing and rental rates in the city hit the roof….No. It went straight for the heavens.
I mean seriously…back in the 90s we had homes. Today, we can only dream of one day providing a home for our children. It’s a sad reality for thousands in the city where most families can only afford to rent a room.
While many have cried for housing and rental rates to be regulated, NCDC and the National Housing Corporation still do not have the powers to do so. Unless laws are passed on the floor of Parliament giving them the powers to do so. Nothing has been done to address the issue. It makes one wonder if it is it because the people in authority who have the power to make decisions are also property owners. Property Owners who make thousands out of the ridiculously high rental rates?
Houses on the rental market are priced at K1200 to K3000 WEEKLY not FORTNIGHTLY… WEEKLY! Looking at these prices you know right away that majority of Papua New Guineans who are middle to low income earners won’t be able to afford this. So, who do these real estate companies and property owners have in mind when they place ads for these prices? Expatriates? CEOs, Managers and MPs?
What about the people, the people of this country?
Even the BSP First Home Ownership Scheme did not work out.
How can a low to middle income earner afford the 10% needed to get that loan to purchase a home?
Again, it was almost as if the scheme was done to benefit only the wealthy.
Property developers have built many houses over the years to complement the First Home Ownership Scheme. But with houses going for K350,000 to K500,000 and the bank requiring a 10% down payment…. where are the people supposed to get the K35, 000 to K50, 000?
It’s high time the issue is addressed. The current government promised to take back PNG and they must do that by ensuring that their people’s welfare is taken care of. The housing issue must be addressed. Laws and policies on real estate and housing must be reviewed, amended, changed to favor of the people.
There are so many aspects to the issue and many studies has been done by various organizations including the National Research Institute, over the years. Yet none of the recommendations have ever been implemented. So, as the rich continue to live in their glass castles and the people continue to suffer, living out of rooms, trying to earn a living and support their families.
*Rebecca Kuku writes is a content contributor for the Guardian (Australia) and Post Courier.