Fiji is one of the few countries in the Pacific that allows non-Fiji citizens to own properties. The 400 odd islands that make up the Fiji group have lush vegetation and pristine waters with properties that offer a perfect home in paradise.
There are three types of land in Fiji: freehold, native lease land, and crown lease land.
- Freehold property can be bought and sold freely in most areas of Fiji. Only about 8% of all land in Fiji is freehold.
- Native land can be leased but never owned. Leases are usually for a period of 99 years and monitored by the TLTB (iTaukei Land Trust Board where the right to exclusively occupy land for a period of time is granted).
- Crown land is owned by the Fiji Government which can be leased directly from the government in certain areas of Fiji.
In Fiji freehold or land tenure is via a Torrens title land-registration system with the title guaranteed constitutionally by the State.
Can a non-resident buy freehold property in Fiji?
As a non-citizen of Fiji you can buy freehold in most areas in Fiji. There are only restrictions on the purchase of freehold property by non-citizens in urban areas of Fiji as outlined in Fiji’s new Land Sales (Amendment) Act 2014 which prohibits the sale of freehold and crown residential property to non-citizens within the boundaries of cities and towns. Commercial properties that are freehold can be bought by non-Fiji citizens in urban areas with the consent of the relevant Minister. If purchasing vacant freehold land non-citizens are required to build a new home on the land costing no less than FJD $250,000 within 2 years of purchasing the property. You also need to register with Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) for tax purposes.
If I don't have residency, how long can I stay in Fiji?
Four months stay for holiday purposes are given upon arrival for countries that do not require a visa. You are able to lodge an application for a two month extension with the Department of Immigration. However, securing residency is the most expedient thing to do if you plan to spend long periods of time here. Most foreigners who own property can obtain a renewable 3-year residency permit through the Fiji Immigration Department
What form of ownership is permitted in Fiji?
Obtaining residency is the most practical thing do if you plan on spending long amounts of time in Fiji. Most foreigners who own property may obtain a renewable 3- year residency permit through the Fiji Immigration Department.
Ownership of real estate properties in Fiji can be individuals or more than one person. Businesses and partnerships can acquire, hold and convey real estate properties in Fiji. Partnerships may be more than 20 people with one general partner. Trusts and joint venture can purchase real estate properties in Fiji, as well.
Are there Registered Appraisers in Fiji?
Yes, and most of Fiji’s commercial banks have approved lists of appraisers that form the banks’ panel of appraisers.
Financing your Home
Can I as a non-resident investor obtain loans from commercial banks in Fiji?
Yes, loans may be obtained by investors from local Commercial banks in Fiji. The reserve bank of Fiji handles the maximum loan amount. It is possible for the borrower to use their property in their own countries as equity. Commercial banks’ lending to different sectors is monitored by the Reserve Bank of Fiji. The approval of any loan is on a case by case basis. Most banks will be able to assist you with the requirements for transferring currency overseas and any other issues you may face, including external non-resident account opening. Foreign investors with established businesses in Fiji are able to easily make payments overseas. Importing and service related charges can be made to commercial banks with FRCA approval. Capital account and current account transactions require Reserve Bank approval, and may include the following;
- Capital and Income Transfer;
- Maintenance of foreign currency accounts and selected external accounts;
- Issue and transfer of shares involving non-resident shareholders;
- Advance import payments above F$20,000 per invoice;
- Emigration allowance;
- Withdrawal of Investment ;
- Offsetting of Foreign Exchanges against foreign exchange bills payable in respect of merchandise imports over $100,000 per transaction
- Loan repayment about $50,000 per amount due.
Applications that need reserve bank approval are easily obtainable, provided that all necessary documentation is provided.
Banks in Fiji
Reserve Bank of Fiji
The functions, powers, and responsibilities of the Bank are specified in the Reserve Bank of Fiji Act, 1983 are as follows:
- To regulate the issue of currency, and the supply, availability and international exchange of money;
- To promote monetary stability;
- To promote a sound financial structure; and
To foster credit and exchange conditions conducive to the orderly and balanced economic development of the country.
ANZ’s entry into the Pacific region dates back to December 16, 1880 when the Union Bank of Australia (est.1837) opened a branch in the old capital of Fiji, Levuka. For more information on ANZ, please visit: www.anzfiji.com.fj
Westpac Fiji: Banking for generations.
Westpac Fiji has been serving the Fijian community for 115 years.They provide personal and business banking, corporate banking, foreign trading and international services to thousands of our customers. They operate 20 branches and have an expansive In-store Banking, ATM and EFTPOS network. For more information on Westpac, please visit: www.westpac.com.fj
Bank South Pacific (BSP)
BSP, the leading bank of the South Pacific, began operations in Fiji in December 2006. Three years later, BSP acquired the Colonial Fiji Group which brought with it a large branch network with representation throughout Fiji. For more information on BSP Fiji, please visit: www.bsp.com.fj
Bank of Baroda
Bank of Baroda started its operations in Fiji on 5th July 1961 with Suva Branch. Second branch opened in Lautoka in year 1963. The major development took place in the year 1966. For more information on Bank of Baroda, please visit: www.bankofbaroda-fiji.com
BRED Bank is a French bank which opened its doors in the capital of Fiji on 3rd November, 2012. BRED Bank is locally incorporated and a subsidiary of Campagnie Financiere de la BRED formed in ninety one years ago and currently has a capital base of nine hundred and eighty seven million dollars. BRED Bank offers a whole range of products and services, competitive interest rates and housing loan incentives, subsidization of costs and special service for elderly citizens. For further information on BRED Bank, please visit: www.bred.com.fj
Length of Transaction
How long does the transaction usually take?
Cash transactions can take up to an average of 4 weeks if funds are cleared by the Reserve Bank of Fiji. Otherwise it can take up to 3 months Jokhan Realtors Limited is happy to assist both the Vendor and the Purchaser throughout the entire transaction to ensure the timeline to effect settlement is minimized.
What is the legal contract for purchasing real estate properties in Fiji?
An offer letter from the buyer and accepted by the vendor starts the legal process (Jokhan Realtors can prepare the offer letter on behalf of the buyer). This is followed by a Sales and Purchase Agreement prepared by either the Jokhan Realtors or the vendor’s lawyer. The Sales and Purchase Agreement document needs to be checked and signed by the seller’s and vendor’s appointed lawyers. For non-residents of Fiji, there are certain requirements that Jokhan Realtors can work through with both parties in order to facilitate the process.
The purchase process?
Once you decide to purchase a property, and have had written offer accepted by the Vendor, you will be asked to sign an ‘Offer To Purchase’ and make a 10% refundable deposit into a Trust Account either with Jokhan Realtors Ltd or your appointed lawyer. Your appointed lawyer will then work with the Vendors appointed lawyer finalise all legal documents (e.g. GST, Transfer documents, etc). Upon settlement, funds will be released and you will receive a Certificate of Title for the property in your name.
What are other costs?
Is there Stamp Duty payable?
Stamp Duty is payable on all conveyances of property in Fiji prior to settlement. Stamp Duty on property transfers ranges from 3% to 10% of the sale price of the property. 3% Stamp Duty is payable on the transfer of Residential properties by purchasers who are Fiji Citizens. Purchasers that are not Fiji citizens are required to pay 10% Stamp Duty on the Transfer of Residential properties as outlined in the Land Sales (Amendment) Act. Non-residential zoned properties require 3% Stamp Duty if being purchased by a buyer who is not a Fiji citizen. There is also Stamp Duty payable on Mortgages in Fiji. Stamp Duty is payable to the Stamp Duties Office based within the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) office.
How much should I expect to pay in legal fees for conveyance?
Legal fees for conveyance and obtaining appropriate government approvals for non-resident purchasers are between FJD$3,000-FJD$5,000.
Is there a VAT (Value Added Tax) payable on goods and services in Fiji?
Yes, currently the VAT payable on goods and services in Fiji is 9%. Generally there is no VAT due on the purchase of a residential property in Fiji. VAT would be due on the purchase of newly subdivided lots or within a new development being offered to the market for the first time, or for the sale of Commercial, Industrial, or Investment properties. There is the opportunity to claim any VAT paid as a refund. This should be discussed directly with your accountant in Fiji.
Can I buy a pre-fabricated home?
Yes. The Fijian Government has also recently reduced the duty rate for importing a pre-fabricated kit home into Fiji from 32% to 3% if to be used as a personal residence or 5% if for a commercial investment.
How much does it cost to build a home?
The cost of building will vary according to the size and design of the house, the quality of finish and the location. For example the cost of building a home on one of the outer islands will be higher because of logistics. Low End: F$1,500 – $2,000 per square meter Mid-Range: F$2,000 – $3,000 per square meter High End: F$3,000 – $4,000 per square meter plus.