A cautionary tale - though there are a few islands for sale, beware of the complicatons of land matters in Fiji, cautions one David Aubrey of a marketing consultancy. From today's Fiji Times. Of course it always astonished me the asking price for a piece of land, that was, once upon a time, given in good faith to a stranger for a gun or two to use for a few years then revert to the Fijian people of that place. There was no understanding of land title 'for ever' those days.
Islands for sale
Saturday, February 25, 2012
A TOURISM market findings report claims that there were 14 private islands listed for sale early this year, their price tags totalling over $98million.
David Aubrey of the Aubrey Development Marketing Consulting company said the Market Findings report on buying a Fiji island was produced as tourism started to build again.
"Fiji has a great future and it is an ideal place to buy a private dream island but there are many matters to be taken into consideration before purchase," he said.
The 14 properties were listed for sale by three offshore companies but it was difficult to achieve a total understanding of what each offering entailed, Mr Aubrey said.
In the report, Mr Aubrey stated that the legal framework for ownership of land in Fiji was quite complex.
"One matter that is causing considerable consternation and uncertainty is unregistered land that should not be sold but there are instances where it has," the report said.
"This represents a daunting scenario for a would-be purchaser who wants a prudent investment to accompany the slice of paradise.
"Contrary to wide held belief, not all private islands are owned by luxury chain resorts, multimillionaire film stars and business tycoons for whom money is not a problem. Indeed several of the islands are owned and operated by independent business that seized the opportunity to continue in business but far from the corporate world."
The report warned potential buyers of unregistered land that could be subject to challenge after purchase, misrepresentation by sales agents, different agents quoting different prices, islands with no beach as well as incomplete island resorts, which may be costly to complete.
It also cautioned potential buyers to be aware of government taxes, accessibility, local traditions and politics, local weather systems, logistics of supplies and the length of time to get approvals ù to name a few.
The information contained in the report was sourced via island brokers, interviews with existing resort operators from small to medium to large scale international brand, government information, CIA data, Internet blog sites following nine consecutive trips to Fiji, Mr Aubrey claimed.
"It is grassroots research with real data on property transactions very difficult to obtain. Potential buyers should treat this information as a guide only and seek professional assistance prior to entering into due diligence or a contract of sale."