Vila Times

Australians urged to ‘think twice’ before investing in the Pacific

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Australians interested in buying retirement homes in the Pacific islands are being warned to be very careful in order to avoid losing their money.

A couple from Melbourne claim they’ve been ripped off by the man they contracted to build their house in Fiji, and they know of many other expatriates in a similar situation, Pacific Beat reports.

“We had our builder breached the signed contract and walked off the job with the building not even half complete. There are other Australians here in a similar situation with various stages of unfinished buildings, causing them headache. And the problem is – when local builders do walk off the job, they take your money and not finish the job, – they are not getting punished,” Australian investors said.

“I would not recommend Australians to buy property here in Fiji. It is not stable enough here, not enough protection for investors. Don’t do that unless you have a lot of money that you can afford to loose,” a couple from Melbourne concluded.

“What often happens to Australian and other investors in places like Fiji – is the local government changing the rules. For example some investors involved with a large hotel chain. The Fiji government signed an agreement for them to be able to build the hotel. And eighteen months later, when the construction was organised and a lot of planning finalised, the Parliament just changed their mind. Simple as that,” said Malcolm Gunning, President of the Real Estate Institute of Australia.