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5th National Real Estate Conference

The Real Estate Agents Licensing Board (REALB) hosted its 5th National Real Estate Conference centered around theme “Real Estate Education and Opportunities” at The Pearl Resort last week.

Dubbed the largest gathering for the real estate industry, the annual conference provided a platform and an opportunity to share knowledge, question various speakers and highlight pressing industry issues to more than 100 participants.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Co-operatives, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Communications Hon. Manoa Kamikamica during his speech announced from the 1st of February 2024, the 2 per cent cap on commissions charged by real estate agents on properties below $500,000 was repealed.

He said the decision marked a pivotal moment that amplified the unwavering support for the real estate industry and its vital role in shaping our nation's economic landscape.

“Let me reiterate, this does not absolve you from being responsible to you clients and the people of Fiji,” he said.

“The REALB, the Consumer Council and the Fiji Consumer and Commerce Commission (FCCC) will still monitor the agents and transactions you make with a view to protecting consumers, especially the vulnerable.”

He highlighted the real estate sector is tagged as the “single largest component of wealth in a country”. 

“That holds true for Fiji, fast becoming a hotspot for property investments hinged on our rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and above all, our rapidly growing economy — that all of you contribute to,” Mr Kamikamica said.

“The real estate sector is not just an add-on; I see it as a cornerstone of our nation's progress, significantly contributing to economic growth, creating employment, and promoting overall prosperity. It’s definitely more than bricks and mortar and making sales; but about the people who live, work, and play within the spaces you create.”

He also cited the Fiji Bureau of Statistics 2022 Report on Fiji’s Gross Domestic Product and said the real estate sector typically pitches roughly $287 million or 3 per cent toward the economy’s output annually.

“That contribution to GDP mirrors the value it brings, drawing in investments and nurturing the accumulation of wealth through property ownership,” he said.

“The Reserve Bank of Fiji's quarterly reports also show that commercial banks’ lending to real estate leapt from $146.4 million in Quarter 1 to $399.3 million in Quarter 3 of 2023. The substantial surge in lending points to a growing confidence in the real estate market tells us that financial institutions are game to invest in a wider array of real estate projects.”

Furthermore, Mr Kamikamica said this meant a broader playing field and more opportunities for real estate agents to enter into various property transactions.

“While industry-specific data is very encouraging, let's not forget to tip our hats to all the real estate industry pros—valuers, bankers, surveyors, architects, lawyers, builders, and other key players—who have prevailed tirelessly to build up our real estate sector.”

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