Apartment and plot sales are slowly reviving from a downtrend caused by political unrest ahead of the January election, realtors said yesterday.
“An increased number of customers are placing new bookings, which were almost zero during September-December last year,” said M Wahiduzzaman, general secretary of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB).
“It is the ideal time to invest in the real estate sector as most realtors are now selling flats and plots at a low profit margin to maintain their cash flows,” he said at a media briefing at the National Press Club in Dhaka.
Apartment and plot sales fell 60 percent in 2013 from the previous year mainly due to political unrest and high lending rates, REHAB said.
“The housing sector had plunged into crisis because of prolonged political turbulence last year,” Wahiduzzaman said.
In recent times, the interest rates on loans to buy property have climbed to more than 18 percent, up from 14-15 percent a year ago, realtors said.
The sector also witnessed a significant fall in new project registrations last year.
The number of new projects undertaken by developers declined by around 75 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year, according to REHAB.
The platform of realtors in a recent study found that a total of 338 companies have 22,572 units of unsold flats worth Tk 21,506.36 crore. As the association has around 1,200 member companies, the actual number will be far higher, it said.
The realtors at the press conference also announced the schedule of a five-day housing exhibition -- REHAB Fair-2014, which will begin on Thursday at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city.
The exhibition will be displaying projects from 141 members of the association and is open to all at an entry fee of Tk 50 from 11am to 9pm.
Financial institutions and manufacturers of building materials will also participate in the fair.
No member will be allowed to display unauthorised projects at the exhibition, said Md Abdur Rashid, acting president of REHAB.
The association will also open an information booth on the fair premises to ensure that customers are not deceived into buying any unauthorised projects, he added.
The real estate sector now contributes around 13 percent to the country's GDP, employing around one lakh skilled people and another 35 lakh in the backward linkage industries, according to industry people.