Building in Vanuatu – custom designed by qualified builders
If you don’t already have a section your holiday home, building in the Republic of Vanuatu begins with arranging to lease land from the government. It’s a relatively uncomplicated process which Vanuatu Homes can easily guide you through.
After first acquiring a building permit from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, it’s essential that any outstanding land rent is checked for by the Ministry.
Zoning will then be advised in writing.
Building can commence provided the builder has dealt with the following:
- Preliminary environmental assessment (15 days; 20,000Vanuatu Vatu (VUV) approx. $AUD240)
- Request building permit from Town Planning and Building Division and pay application fee. Approval from Public Works Department, Department of Land, Survey and Registry, Geology and Mines Department, Fire Department and Physical Planning Department will be needed. Vanuatu Homes will help you supply floor plans, elevations, cross sections, roof structure plans and various layouts, including sewerage, to the relevant departments. The application fee is a fixed fee of VUV 10,000.00 (AUD$120).
- Public Works Department approval required to verify the safety of the building. (no charge)
- Approval from the Department of Land, Survey and Registry next required
- Geology and Mines Department approval
- Fire Department approval
- Physical Planning Department approval
- Pay building permit fee and obtain building permit from Town Planning and Building Division
- Payment for the construction permit itself is made when the Town Council has approved the permit. The fee for a construction permit is VUV 875.00 ($AUD10) per m2.
Building in Vanuatu – quick facts for peace of mind
Vanuatu is a warm and welcoming country without stiff restrictions against development.
- There are no restrictions on foreigners buying property
- You do not need a Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) Investor’s Certificate or a business licence to buy property in Vanuatu.
- There is no freehold land in Vanuatu. When a property or parcel of land is registered, it is registered as a leasehold title.
- There is no requirement for property owners to live in Vanuatu.
- The maximum term of any lease is 75 years. Many leases are for a term of 50 years from their creation although nearly all new leases are approved and registered for 75 years, including strata title leaseholds.
- When you buy an existing lease, you purchase the remaining term of that lease; you do not get a new 50 or 75 year title.
- However, many of the 50 year leases that now have less than 20 years remaining have been, and are being, extended Lessees may surrender their leases either to subdivide land it is possible to strata title existing buildings and to create strata titles for new apartment and commercial buildings, allowing for the management of common property by body corps in a similar way that occurs in Australia and New Zealand.
- Commercial banks accept leasehold titles as security for loans to complete a transaction takes generally about 1 – 2 months. This varies depending on conditions that may be part of normal buyer’s costs are a 2% Stamp Duty and a 5% Title Transfer Registration fee payable by the buyer.
- Capital gains are best found in Residential property and vacant land in prime areas such as the harbour front. Lagoon front areas with good water and sunset views, and for commercial property along the main streets of the CBD areas of Port Vila, and to a lesser extent Luganville have also seen steady increases in market value.
- The best residential places to buy are In Port Vila, Tassiriki, Elluk, the Harbour front, the First Lagoon, the Second Lagoon, Bellevue, Malapoa and the newer oceanfront subdivisions near town particularly Dream Cove, Paradise Cove and Angelfish Bay. Commercial – CBD and main street and central harbour front. Agricultural prime land includes Efate, Santo & Malekula islands.
- Well maintained property in good locations typically rents well. There are many aid organisations and private foreign companies who prefer to rent for 1 – 3 year contracts rather than buy property for their senior management staff. Many residential tenants are employees of aid donor agencies, high commissions and other private and public organisations.
- The most reliable company in Port Vila with qualified builders is Vanuatu Homes.
- If you want to build your own house, you don’t need any permissions or approvals, or a business licence to do the building for yourself on your own land title. You will still need to obtain your planning permission and building permit from the local panning authority (the Municipal Council in urban areas and the Provincial Council in rural areas) and you will need to register as an employer with the VNPF (the Vanuatu National Provident Fund) if you hire any workers.
- VAT or GST is not payable by the purchaser on second hand residential property. VAT is payable by a licenced builder if he sells a new house he has built or by a property developer selling lots in a land subdivision. The VAT in these cases will usually be included in the price, but may be itemised separately for buyers able to claim back the VAT – eg: a VAT registered purchaser.
- Private parties can agree to a sale in any currency acceptable to both sides. First time purchasers are not likely to have vatu so it is common for these transactions to be done in foreign currency. There are no restrictions on exchanging currencies locally or in sending foreign currency into or out of Vanuatu so this is really a matter for the contracting parties to decide between themselves.