I have to admit when I arrived here 15 years ago, I hated this article 12 clause, because like most statesiders, I dreamed of OWNING in FEE SIMPLE, but what I did not understand at that time was most places have Property tax, so you really never own it, and if you stop paying those property tax,s the government takes your land. It did not take me long to realize that, this was what was keeping Saipan from having a fair market value due to keeping the other article's related to property tax's from doing property tax's here.
You need four main items to make a fair market value: 1. - Property tax's - this drives the government to pay close attention to all land transactions so they can make the most money. 2 - Licensed brokers and property specialist which are trained, Educated, and lic. by the government to do business here in the CNMI, that coupled with the banks determination of the actual market value based on their customers demands. 3. DPL & Banks - These two also are Majorly needed in order to increase value but keep stable the pricing. with these four entities, you can get a fair market value and a true appraisal of the properties and houses in the CNMI. (not what happened back in the early or mid 2000's where appraisals were high and you could pay someone to get a higher value appraisal to get more money from the bank and then you just forfeited the house and land, as you received far more on the loan then you would have ever been paid by anyone for that property. For me their is no such thing without a fair market value to get an accurate appraisal of your property or land in the CNMI, their is not enough facts to base a real price on) I happen to like Article 12 and hope it never gets withdrawn from our constitution. For business this has helped me, as property prices are based on what the seller really wants to make which is soly based on there situation at that time in their life VS. what the buyer is willing to pay based on his perception of the value, which may not be based on saipan economics but that of his or her own home country. so prices here are quite low sometimes but lately they have been going up based on the market and the typhoons which has left the island with less livable houses and apartments then people. As such prices have climbed their are still good deals which can be found because of the fact pricing is dictated by each persons situation at that time, and if they need money fast, the prices go way down real quick. many people including locals have made a great business out of these circumstances and will continue to do so. If we ever get to a fair market value economy here in the CNMI, prices will definitely jump, banks will start offering a fair market value on land and houses and locals will make out on this, but in the end, for those with little or not much they will get poorer and have to rent, while the wealthier locals get richer. Land is Money! so be careful on what yo do in life and always try to lease over selling fee simple if you can, I never blame or call stupid or judge anyone on their decisions, I don't wear their shes, or walk in their path and we must all do what we need to when we need to do it. right place and right timing can be quite lucrative. anyway, these are some of my thoughts on Article 12 and its affect on the CNMI, you might have different so let the community know your thoughts. lets chat about it, after all its part of our lives here as so many things are regardless of being good or bad.