Work within the budget

CONSUMERS thinking of investing in real estate properties should work within their budget and read carefully the conditions before signing any documents.

While the price of properties is determined by supply and demand, the Real Estate Licensing Board in Fiji says legal fees, real estate commission and bank fees should be disclosed to consumers or interested buyers.

During an earlier interview with this newspaper, REALB chief executive officer and registrar Ravinesh Murti said those with complaints against real estate agents should lodge a formal complaint to the board while those with concerns about lawyers should lodge their concerns with the Independent Legal Commission.

Mr Murti said the board acted on formal complaints with facts and figures.

“Many locals purchase properties through bank mortgage. For any bank mortgage, they require valuation and only based on valuation the loan is processed. It’s a global trend the price of real estate will increase. The population will always increase and God won’t be supplying any more land,” he said.

“I understand the Housing Authority is developing subdivision lots. It is not possible to purchase real estate at prices that were offered 10 years back. On a brighter note, many people are eligible to purchase real estate as purchasing power among the Fijians increased. Since the demand has increased and supply is less, the property price will increase. That’s simple economics.”

Mr Murti said there were a number of subdivisions in the pipeline, adding Government’s tax free zoning in rural areas would benefit in the long term.

Last year, concerns were raised that foreign investors were inflating the real estate market, however, Mr Murti said this was a false notion about Chinese or foreigners spoiling the market.

“I agree that the foreigners bought some properties at very high prices but they are only purchasing properties at certain locations such as Namadi Heights, Princes Rd, Domain, Denarau, Nadi, Naisoso, Taveuni, Savusavu and certain lots in tourist developed islands,” he said.

“According to sales data, vast majority of the properties are being purchased by local Fijians.”

He said Nasinu had the highest sales last year and comprised mostly of local Fijians.

Meanwhile, Mr Murti said the public was urged to lodge formal complaints against real estate agents if there were allegation of fraud and unethical practices.