The Fiji government has amended the Land Sales Act to prevent land sales to non-residents and imposed restrictions on existing foreign property owners.
Under the new legislation, foreigners who own a property are only allowed to sell it back to the Fiji people. Foreign homebuyers who have yet to build a house on their purchased land, are now required to do so within two years, or possibly face a fine of 10 per cent on the property’s value, which is imposed every six months. Another requirement mandates a minimum spending of A$150,000 on construction costs.
This new move comes as an unwelcoming surprise as it poses a setback for some homeowners who may not have ready funds to meet this new criteria. The grouse is how sudden and inconsiderate it was as there is basically little allowance for an appropriate reaction. There is a serious lack of disregard to the level of difficulty in attaining the service of a builder and building materials. The permitting process actually takes months to get an approval as well.
Amid the raising dissatisfaction from foreigners, the amendment helps curb foreign demand for property, hence stabilizing the property prices and ensures that the affordability stays within range for its local residents. The downside of it may be the adverse effect it has on the economy as foreign investors starts to re-think their investments there.