Today all his units are fully tenanted mostly by middle income earners seeking relief from the soaring rentals in the more preferable locations in Lae City.
“The prices are too high. And that’s what drives people into the outer suburbs and settlements.”
Mus is one of many small businessmen and women who have taken advantage of the ever increasing demand for affordable housing and security. His one and two bedroom units are occupied by families of public servants in middle management and private sector workers whose employers pay meager housing allowances.
But many more families live in shabby, unregulated, privately built bedsitter units. Not all have the basics of water, power and sewerage services provided by the city council.
Mus says the government needs regulate real estate prices and offer some relief to struggling families.
But it is a view that is not shared by the Real Estate Agents Association, President, Mike Quinn, who says the industry cannot and should not be regulated.
“It is an industry that depends on supply and demand,” he says.
|Units at Nawae Block|
But Mike Quinn sees good days ahead. In two years, the Wafi-Golpu project owned and operated by Morobe Mining Joint venture (MMJV) is expected to begin operation and with it will come a renewed demand for quality housing.
Quinn sees government intervention happening in other areas of the housing sector. He says the government has the capital to develop large scale housing projects in areas that are currently unfeasible for privately owned real estate companies.
“Those are the kind of areas that the National Housing Corporation should be taking the lead is developing housing projects.”
The National Housing Corporation (NHC) – the government agency tasked to provide affordable housing to Papua New Guineans – has not been doing a good job in the past. It has fended off ongoing allegations of corruption and its executives have faced the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee during investigations.
Since taking office, the new Housing Minister, Paul Isikiel, has pushed for internal reforms. One of the things he wants to do is sell off NHC properties in Lae to the Morobe Provincial Government in a move expected to ease the public servant housing shortage.