13 Aug 2018

High demand leads to shortage of land in Solomons capital

11:37 am on 13 August 2018

The acting Commissioner of Lands in Solomon Islands says applications for government land in the capital of Honiara need to be halted as there is a severe shortage of appropriate space.

Alan McNeil said his office had been flooded with applications for government land, particularly in Honiara, but most of what is left is steep land or road reserves.

Honiara port

A view towards Honiara port Photo: RNZ Koroi Hawkins

He said out of desperation, even that is now being built on.

"We get some very inappropriate allocations now and so we are trying to stop that process of people coming into the Ministry of Lands and asking for land because basically there is no more land left to give, especially in the urban centres."

Mr McNeil said the demand had created a black market real estate industry where middle-men 'consultants' try to pass off available land to prospective buyers.

He said releasing any available land through a public tender process would be a better procedure to follow rather than 'ad-hoc' granting of applications.

The acting Commissioner hoped a new piece of legislation would help address the land shortage.

The Strata Titles Bill was passed in parliament last week and provides for the division of land into strata titles.

Mr McNeil said this would help the situation.

"That is a bill that will help to alleviate the land shortage by allowing developers to build upwards and to sub-divide buildings and sell off units in those buildings and those units in those buildings will be typically much cheaper to buy than a piece of land or land with a building on it."