What it takes to set up house in New Caledonia

I hadn’t forgotten how challenging it can be to “set up house” in New Caledonia. Before arriving on the island, I knew it would take up to 3 weeks to get Internet access, and to secure that we would need a bank account.

The morning after we arrived (falling into bed at 1 in the morning after 4 days of travel), we were at the bank at 9.00 to request an appointment. We were told to come back with the following papers for both my husband and I before they could consider giving us an appointment:

– Proof of residence
– Proof of identity
– Current work contracts or last three payslips
– Last three bank statements from our bank in Europe
– Our “livret de famille”

When we said it would be hard to get the last three bank statements, they said to consult the Internet. We explained that we did not have access to the Internet, which was why we were here. Alas.

To make matters slightly more complicated, all our luggage had been lost in travel. Ideally those last three bank statements would be there, in the lost luggage. By some strange oversight, they were not. One was in our forwarded mail and the other two were in our shipment from Europe (that were miraculously delivered the afternoon after we arrived).

Bref, we found everything they needed and in the rain, my husband walked to the bank to open our account.

The other thing we did in the rain was to try to find a car rental place. We found one. No cars available until the following week. Where in the world had we landed? This wasn’t Paris for heaven’s sake!

But bank account opened on the Wednesday evening, Thursday we were able to sign up for a 3G subscription (for this you also need a bank account). On the Friday, we were able to sign up for cable (without it, you have 2 local TV stations; as the Olympics are showing right now and we had already missed the opening, we were keen to get on line). Today (Saturday), it was installed at 7.30 in the morning. Yes, you read right. 7.30 on a Saturday – the day starts early here.

Food? We walk to a local overpriced shop and go to the local market. A colleague’s wife kindly drove us to a bigger shop on Friday, where prices are better but still out of this world (a post will follow on prices shortly). We’ve had to buy a few very cheap clothes as our luggage still has not arrived (but is on its way).

School? That will come sometime next week once we have a car.

Telephone? That will also come next week as the fastest appointment is this coming Monday. For this, a bank account is also needed.

Mobile phone? Done. We just needed to come with a deblocked phone and be ready to spend 55 euros on a card that you refill as needed.

Broadband access? Well, in another 3 weeks, following our appointment with the phone company …

We’re getting there, one day at a time.

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25 thoughts on “What it takes to set up house in New Caledonia

  1. Oddly, there were similar trials in Dakar with banks. It’s like they’re doing you a favor. Then, wire transfers took WEEKS to be “announced” (funds released) even with all the interrogation and proof of identity, permission from the tribal authorities, etc. Quelle merde!

  2. Julie, what’s the market price for a 2 bedroom apartment with say 60-90 sqm in New Caledonia? I’m finding very little real estate online. Thanks!

  3. Hi Julie I am coming to NC next week to look some investment opportunities in New Caledonia. I am from India and I am pure vegetarian. Can you suggest me some good place to have Indian food.

  4. Hi Julie, I’m currently applying for an English assistant teacher position in New Caledonia. Do you have any recommendations of schools (primaire/lycée), as well as any advice on regions and what it’s like to live in New Caledonia?
    Thanks in advance! -Freya

    • Hi Freya – It’s been a while since we lived in New Caledonia, but we definitely recommend living and working in Noumea. You’ll find lots of information about what it’s like to live in New Caledonia on the blog. Good luck! – Julie

  5. Hi Julie

    Very little info on the net on properties for sale in Noumea. Two questions for you if you don’t mind:

    1. Are there some good realestate agents in Noumea. If so, do they happily transact with people who only speak English at present?

    2. In your opinion are there enough 2 bedroom apartments for sale to make it worth having a look at them in person, and in your opionion what would the price range be for such an apartment in the back suburbs of Noumea (away from the beach and perhaps in a low-cost area)?

    • Hi John – I wish I could be of more help to you on this. When I was in Noumea, there were of course real estate agents. English is rather limited, but I find that Google Translate actually can work in cases like these. Housing can be expensive, even away from the beach. Have you checked Air BnB just to see the rental prices to give you an idea?

      • Thanks for getting back Julie.

        I will check out air bnb in accord with your suggestion that rental prices might give some indication as to sale prices. The reason I’ve asked you the question is that there are hardly any properties for sale in NC to be found on the net. The property adds are badly formatted, and only list a couple of apartments at best. This to me seems unusual. So I suppose what I am essentially asking is whether there is some unstated resistance on the part of real estate agents in NC to advertise to non-French nationals. That is, in your opinion are they preferring to sell properties on ly to French nationals?

      • Hi Julie

        I suppose the main problem I see is the rarity of properties for sale in NC (and the rarity of NC real estate agents) on the internet. It would seem that the French don’t want Australians investing there: that they are rather keeping it for their own nationals in France to retire in. I spoke to a French Canadian about this recently, and that is what she suggested to me: she’d been to NC, and said it was “pristine”, but she said she felt the French probably didn’t want it to attract too much attention from nations other than France. So I suppose I’m asking you whether you think this might be the case and that I might therefore find it difficult to even get an agent to show me properties for sale upon my arrival there for a holiday. I look forward to your reply. Regards, John Duval, Melbourne

  6. To the moderator …

    Hi there,

    A few days ago I asked what the prices for a 2-bedroom apartment were in New Caledonia, and also whether there were any Real Estate agents who were OK dealing with English-only speakers.
    I received an email asking me to click on a link to verify my post. I clicked on that link. However I note that my question seems to have been rejected. Could you please send me an email explaining why my question has not been accepted?

    Thanks and kind regards,
    John Duval
    Melbourne
    Australia

    • Hi John – I’m so sorry for the delay. I’m currently travelling in Vietnam and Cambodia and have limited Internet access. Your questions were not rejected – and I’ve tried to answer them just now on your earlier post. Please write to my email address if I can help you further! All the best – Julie

  7. Hi there

    I’ve tried a couple of times to get this post up, so here’s a 3rd try, this time using my gmail account.

    Would you have an idea as to the price of a 2-bedroom apartment in the back suburbs of Noumea? Or perhaps an old house?

    Would you be able to recommend any real estate agents who would happily deal with an English-speaking person with regard to buying an apartment in Noumea?

    Regards

    John Duval
    Melbourne
    Australia

  8. Thanks for getting back Julie.

    I will check out air bnb in accord with your suggestion that rental prices might give some indication as to sale prices. The reason I’ve asked you the question is that there are hardly any properties for sale in NC to be found on the net. The property adds are badly formatted, and only list a couple of apartments at best. This to me seems unusual. So I suppose what I am essentially asking is whether there is some unstated resistance on the part of real estate agents in NC to advertise to non-French nationals. That is, in your opinion are they preferring to sell properties on ly to French nationals?

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