THE prolonged shortage of formal housing has inflated rentals and house prices to levels which are no longer affordable to most people, Independent Consumer and Competition Commission Commissioner and chief executive Paulus Ain, pictured, says.
Ain was responding to a statement from the Hausples Real Estate Show and comments by real estate industry association president Mike Quinn regarding the real estate situation in the country.
Ain in a statement yesterday said housing availability and affordability, particularly in urban centres, was a problem for many people. He attributed the housing shortage to the rapid growth of the urban population over the past two decades and the lack of formal housing market to cater for the demand.
“The prolonged shortage of formal housing has inflated rentals and house prices to levels that are no longer affordable to the majority of the people,” he said.
“While rentals may have gone down a bit, as reported by Mike Quinn, it is in our assessment of the market still largely unaffordable to most urban dwellers.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel had tasked the ICCC to undertake an inquiry into the real estate industry next year.
Issues to be investigated include:
- A review of the current state and operation of the housing and real estate industry in PNG; and,
- A review of the recommendations of the ICCC’s 2010 final report on the “PNG Housing and Real Estate Industry Review”, government-sanctioned housing reports by the National Research Institute,
Department of Lands and Physical Planning and other government institutions.
The inquiry will outline why these recommendations have not been implemented and how they can be implemented in the near future.
Ain said the ICCC could consider the option of applying some form of regulation in the housing industry.
“Although regulation may not be the best option for the industry, where there is prima facie evidence that the market is not competitive and there exists an uneven playing field among the industry players disadvantaging consumers and an appropriate form of regulation will be considered as the solution,” Ain said.