A quiet year for real estate | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 01, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 01, 2010


A quiet year for real estate

Real estate was caught in the early gloom of 2009, but apartment sales slightly rose toward the end of the year. Photo: Amran Hossain

Apartment sales in the first half of 2009 were caught up by the global financial crisis, but later the budgetary provision of allowing unquestioned black money investment in real estate brought smiles to the sector people.
A good number of the flat buyers are either overseas wage earners or export-oriented businesspeople. And so the global recession kept these people away from buying apartments.
“Most of the buyers in the expatriate Bangladeshi segment are white-collar professionals who were affected by the global crisis and were not in a position to spend in real estate,” said Shaikh Aftab Ahmed, chief operating officer of Shanta Properties Ltd.
About the overall performance of the sector, Tanveerul Haque Probal, president of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB), said apartment sales increased around 15 percent after the government had allowed investment of black money in the sector in June.
It helped the sector stage a comeback amid global recession, he added.
“We expect to make up for the losses we incurred in the first half through the upcoming annual REHAB housing fair this month.”
Probal said the REHAB fair of 2009 will be held in January, as it was not possible to organise it in December for unavailability of a venue. Generally apartment sales go up during and after the show, according to the sector people.
Some sector people said the decision of allowing black money investment mainly helped boost the sales of high-end and luxury apartments.
However, they said turnover in the sector was higher in 2009 compared to the previous two years when an anticorruption drive had restricted many potential buyers from spending on flat or land.
“At the beginning of 2009, the sector just started recovering its two-year losses. But global recession held back its natural growth,” said Toufiq M Seraj, managing director of Sheltech (Pvt) Ltd.
Apartment prices increased due to a rise in land prices, he said, adding that construction cost is also going up, which will ultimately limit the purchasing capacity of the buyers.
In the budget for fiscal 2009-10, the government pledged to develop 22,800 plots and construct 26,000 apartments within three years.
About the government decision to ease the chronic housing problem through public-private partnership, people concerned said they are yet to get any signal from the government.
The government needs to work fast to implement its plan, said Probal, also managing director of Building for Future Ltd.
About the price hike of apartments in the capital, the sector people blamed the higher prices of land, which they said would keep the middle-class bracket at bay.

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