Property Prices Drop Ahead of Building Deadline

Oct. 3, 2017, 6:24 a.m.


IN a desperate dash to sell, several foreign owners of Freehold land on Taveuni Island have listed their lots for as low as $10,000, as the deadline looms for a two-year timeframe requiring them to build, under the amended Land Sales Act enacted in December 2014.

“I have been told by some of my clients who want to sell their lots on Taveuni Estates to sell now,” said Stephen Noble of Noble Real Estate.

“I have lots for $10,000.00 to 15,000.00 Fiji dollars. These won’t last long. The new Land law forces expats to sell their land if they don’t build on it or face big fines – this is once in a lifetime opportunity that don’t take too long.”

Amendments to the Land Sales Act in December, 2014, require Freehold property owners of vacant land  outside municipal boundaries to build residence within a two-year timeframe, and restricts their sale of properties within town or city boundaries to non-residents.

Though Taveuni estates are outside municipal boundaries, the Minister for Lands, Mereseini Vuniwaqa has clarified that as the relevant lots under construction on Taveuni were for the purpose of building residential dwellings, the amended Act would still apply.

“In accordance with legal advice we have received on the matter, we advise that Taveuni Estates are not exempt from the requirement to build a residential dwelling within 24 months from the date of sale, transfer or lease to a non-resident,” she noted in a letter addressed to Noble.

For lots already owned by non-residents when the new regulation was enforced, the 24-month period to build began from December 31, 2014.

A further amendment enacted on September 24 this year notes that if a non-resident is unable to complete construction within the prescribed period, they may apply for an extension to a review committee established by the Minister for Finance, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.