Ultimate Guide In Renting in PNG

Oct. 19, 2021, 10:47 a.m.

Hausples.com.pg is PNG’s best source of real estate information via our website and apps (iOS and Android). Hausples works with real estate agencies, property management companies and developers all over PNG to showcase over 3,500 properties for sale and rent.

Our website and app incorporate a real-time chat function similar to WhatsApp to allow property hunters to speak directly with agents at any time. Many property listings also include 360° virtual reality tours to give users a true sense of the property. Hausples also provides detailed market trend information, real estate news and operates regular real estate expos to bring all of PNG real estate under one roof.

Types of Accommodation in PNG

There are broadly five different types of residential property in PNG. These are reflected on the Hausples website when searching for a rental:

  1. Apartment

  2. Serviced Apartment

  3. Townhouse

  4. Duplex

  5. Houses (high and low set) 

There is also a sixth type of residential property known as a ‘compound’, which contains many different property styles within a gated community. Inside a compound, there may be mixed types of accommodation, such as both apartments and high-set houses.

Most properties, whether residential or commercial, offer security services along with backup water and electricity.

Apartments in PNG

Americans call them ‘apartments’, the British call them ‘flats’, and Australians call them ‘units’. A subdivision of a bigger building, self-contained with its own bathroom, kitchen, two or more rooms, and all on one floor, is classified as an apartment in PNG. Apartments are the most popular property type for expatriate rentals in PNG because of their convenience and security.

Serviced Apartments in PNG

Serviced apartments are apartments that cater for the higher end market and usually have one or all of the following services included: fully furnished, all white and brown goods provided, security alarms, access to maintenance services (electrician, plumber, etc.), access to a pool, gym and other recreational facilities, airport shuttles, WiFi access. 

Townhouses in PNG

A townhouse is one property type that causes some confusion. What Americans, Australians and Papua New Guineans call a townhouse is what the British call a terrace. Townhouses typically adjoin each other with a shared wall and are generally two storeys with their own front and back yard. In PNG, townhouses often share common facilities like a pool and recreational facilities. Townhouses commonly offer security, back up water and electricity.

Duplex in PNG

A duplex has only two units attached and offers the privacy of a front and back yard; some may offer shared facilities like a pool. In PNG, duplexes also provide security and backup water and electricity. 

Houses in PNG (high-set / low-set)

High-set houses are the most common houses in PNG and are built on high stilts with a large verandah to encourage air circulation. They typically have three bedrooms, including one with an ensuite bathroom, and car parking space for two vehicles is usually located under the house. In contrast, houses at ground level without stilts are ‘low set’ houses.

Compound (gated communities) in Papua New Guinea

Compounds are not a property type per se; they are instead a gated community that might house the same or different types of accommodation, such as apartments, duplexes and houses. Compounds generally offer high levels of security and backup facilities (water and electricity), plus shared amenities such as BBQ facilities, pools and gyms. Compounds are a popular choice for foreign residents in PNG.

Rental Prices in PNG

Papua New Guinea, and Port Moresby in particular, has relatively high rental values compared to other countries. There are several reasons behind this; the cost of security and backup facilities (e.g. electricity) are the primary reasons; however, the availability of state land on which to build has increased land values significantly. Rental prices are usually advertised as a weekly rate exclusive of GST (currently 10%), and invoiced monthly in advance.

The ‘Market Trends’ section of the Hausples.com.pg website provides detailed monthly pricing insights: 

  • The median asking price for sales and rentals by property type (house, apartment, land and commercial).

  • The yield of different property types (median advertised sale price divided by the annual rental price).

  • The popularity of different suburbs and property types (measured by monthly search volumes on the Hausples website).

Indicative Rental Prices for International Residents

Please see the Market Trends section of Hausples.com.pg for detailed monthly pricing trends.  

 

Apartment per week

 

1 Bed

2 Bed

3 Bed

Mid-Range

PGK 1,000

PGK 1,500

PGK 2,000

Luxury

PGK 2,500

PGK 3,500

PGK 4,500+

 

House in a Compound per week

 

1 Bed

2 Bed

3 Bed

Mid-Range

-

PGK 2,000

PGK 3,000

Luxury

-

PGK 3,000

PGK 4,000+

 

Mid-Range: Mid-range describes properties of a more affordable nature. Mid-range properties are typically located in the Korobosea / Boroko areas and will have the necessary security features in place.

Luxury: Luxury properties are more likely to be closer to the CBD, such as Touaguba Hill and Paga Hill. There are also larger gated communities in the Waigani and 6-Mile areas. They would typically be either new or refurbished and have more amenities, such as a pool, gym and BBQ facilities.

Security in PNG

Papua New Guineans are accommodating, friendly and loyal to a fault. Despite this, the fact remains that PNG is a high-risk country for travellers. The primary security risks in PNG are urban crime (theft, carjacking and assault), domestic violence, robbery and border security. Unfortunately, the main concern for expat visitors and locals alike is urban-based violent crime, which occurs at very high rates nationally. Such crime has made Port Moresby and Lae somewhat hazardous places to live.

Given the high crime rates, those moving to PNG should prioritise security measures when considering accommodation. Gated and guarded compounds are a norm, and vehicle tracking and secure taxi services are standard. Ensure that you fully understand the level of security of any potential rental property, and be prepared to pay a premium to secure a property with 24/7 guards and surveillance.

Top Housing Security Tips For PNG

  1. Physical barriers (fences and bars)
    Most homes have a surrounding fence and security bars covering the windows. While these are deterrents, they are not a guarantee of safety. Keep the ground floor windows closed at night and ensure that all doors are locked.

  2. Security Guards
    The most common form of security are static guards, a physical human presence looking after your home, generally on a 24-hour shift basis. There are many reputable security firms in PNG, and most companies supply two-way radios in the unlikely event that backup is required.

  3. Dogs
    For those planning on staying in PNG for the longer term, dogs are excellent security guards. Most apartments and compounds are not pet-friendly, but stand-alone houses usually are. There are dog breeders in the country, or you may adopt a dog from the RSPCA.

Alarms

Some properties will have an alarm system pre-installed. Alarms usually include panic buttons and sensors which alert a security firm in case of a break-in whilst simultaneously activating audio and visual warnings to alert onsite security. Speak to your landlord or a reputable security company.

General Awareness in PNG

Even in built-up areas during the day, you should be aware of your surroundings at all times. Know where you need to walk from and to, and ensure you are vigilant of the people around you. Generally, it is best to avoid large crowds. Also, be aware of your personal belongings and display expensive items.

PNG Backup Electricity and Water

Most of Port Moresby’s electricity comes from a hydroelectric power station outside the city, with several backup gas and diesel turbines. However, the distribution system is questionable, and power outages are, unfortunately, a fairly frequent occurrence.

Most compounds and apartments have a communal generator that will start automatically in a power cut. The upkeep of the generator is typically the responsibility of the landlord, agent or body corporate. Standalone houses may include a backup generator, but the tenant normally bears the cost of refuelling.

For people who own sensitive electronic equipment, it might be worth considering the use of an uninterrupted power source (UPS).

Similarly, most properties have large water tanks in case of water cuts or low pressure. While water should be used sparingly during a cut; shortages are usually short such that backup tanks remain filled.

Lease Agreements in PNG

A lease agreement is a legally binding agreement between the agent or property manager and the tenant. A reputable agency will have the agreement ratified by a lawyer, and the tenant bears the cost. The price for this can be between K800 to K2,000.

PNG Rental Payments 

It is common for employers to cover the rental costs for their overseas workers and often have a budget for their employees. Employers will generally pay for the bond fees and legal fees.

Rental paid on an employee’s behalf is deemed income received by the employee and is therefore taxable.

Tips For Moving In

Electricity

PNG Power is responsible for the transmission of electricity in PNG. Most homes have an Esi-Pay meter for which you can buy credits at most major supermarkets. The minimum purchase is K15 which will last a few days for a typical household. Top-ups can also be purchased online or via mobile phones. 

A receipt is issued after you purchase credits with a unique number then typed directly into the meter to increase the units available.

Internet

There are several internet providers in Papua New Guinea, including point to point and ADSL connections. However, the most common is to use a 4G wireless router using Digicel, Telikom PNG, or Bmobile. Data can be pre-purchased directly to the sim card, and a monthly package will cost ~K150 for 30GB.

Water

Water costs are usually borne by the landlord, at least up to a certain amount. The water is generally considered drinkable; however, many incoming visitors prefer to boil tap water before drinking it. Several bottled water suppliers can deliver water and cooling dispensers for around K22 for a 19-litre bottle.

Gas

Gas is commonly used for cooking and is widely available in canisters from hardware stores, garages, and supermarkets. Customers must bring the empty canisters and exchange them for full ones.

Smaller sized bottles are between 4.5kg - 9kg and suit barbeques.

13kg bottles are sometimes used in residential kitchens and can be installed directly by the tenant or owner. Some houses required 45kg bottles, and these are installed professionally due to the weight.

A 13kg gas refill will typically cost K126 and lasts 3 to 4 months.

Phone

There are three major telecom providers in the country; Telikom PNG, Bmobile and Digicel. All providers have good coverage of the main cities; however, the range in rural areas is often limited. For those travelling off the beaten path, it is well worth considering satellite services.

Telikom PNG can provide landlines, but these are rarely used in residential homes nowadays. BMobile and Telikom PNG are part of the same group, and their prices are identical. Both networks offer phone and data credit that may be purchased via scratch cards, direct top-up or online. Several “bundle” packs are available, such as:

  • Data plans (K150 for 30GB for 30 days).

  • Moa Packs (K32 for 100 mins talk time, 100 SMS and 1GB for 30 days).

  • International call passes (K19 for 60 mins over 3 days) plus a variety of night passes.

Digicel is PNG’s alternate phone and data network and has similar pricing and coverage, such as: 

  • Data Plans (K200 for 20GB)

  • Bundle Packs (K110 for 160 mins, 120 SMS and 1.5GB for 30 days)

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