Papua New Guinea’s real estate market maturing, says Hausples CEO

The Chief Executive and Founder of real estate portal hausples.com.pg, Matthew Care, explains to Business Advantage PNG that the company is set to take advantage of higher rates of internet usage in Papua New Guinea. He expects rates of urbanisation to increase.

Hausples’ Matthew Care Source: Hausples

Hausples is an online real estate portal. It was started in 2013 and offers an agents’ directory as well as advertisements for the sale or rent of residential and commercial properties. It also covers land, and finance and insurance.

‘Our strategy is to help the real estate industry—both agents and the public—to move on-line, and to access a broader market,’ says CEO and founder, Matthew Care.

‘That is why we are partnering with agents, including providing customer relationship management systems so they can manage their information in a digital way.’

‘On the public side, we have the real estate portal where people can access the details of property information and real estate news conveniently from their desktop PC, or mobile phone.

‘Plus, we have just launched the Hausples.com.pg Real Estate Show, which will take place at the Sir John Guise Stadium in November and will showcase the best of PNG property developments, agents and related services.’

Challenges

Care says two challenges in PNG are the ‘relatively low urbanisation rate’ and the PNG’s multitude of different languages.

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‘PNG is a unique market because it has a relatively high population compared with the other markets we operate in —nearly 8 million—but it has a very low urbanisation rate, so not many people live in houses within urban areas.

‘Over the next five to 10 years, government and private enterprise will become more aggressive about putting in place infrastructure to make housing affordable.’

‘We believe over the next five to 10 years there will be a lot more people moving into cities and they will starting their search for houses and other services online.’

Growth

Care says he expects the PNG market to grow slowly. ‘It is coming off a low base. South East Asia is probably more of a high growth market from a GDP perspective, and it has higher urbanisation.

‘PNG is still a market where lots of people don’t live in housing. Not just because of a lack of affordability, but because of a lack of infrastructure: whether it is hard infrastructure like roads and water, or the lack of land title, or lack of access to home loans.

‘We think, over the next five to 10 years, government and private enterprise will become more aggressive about putting in place infrastructure to make housing affordable, and make access to housing a reality.

‘Relatively speaking, there are still high data costs in PNG.’

‘The government has lots of initiatives already and it will go progressively higher on the priority list. What will then happen—and you are already seeing it—is that private enterprise will get involved because of the opportunity.

‘Over time, it is pretty clear that traditional land holders and the government will collaborate to release more and more land for development. I don’t think it is in anyone’s interest to hoard land if it is not being utilised sufficiently.’

Competition

Care says ‘relatively speaking, there are still high data costs’ in PNG, which can mitigate against widespread internet use, but he believes that will improve.

‘PNG has had limited competition for a long period of time, which is not good for any market. But it is becoming more competitive and the costs are going down.

‘All telecommunications are getting more accessible, and cheaper, and I think that it will continue to improve. There will be continual demand from both the public and private enterprise for quality internet.

‘We have seen that over the last few years, with more people using smart phones and wireless. How fast it happens is anyone’s guess, but where there is demand, inevitably the government and private enterprise will step in to meet it.’

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