Land price marks unusual rise
As the cost of land in Dhaka city has marked an unusual rise for lack of control over the land market, developers can no longer construct low-cost buildings for the middle-income group.
According to a study, a fierce competition by real-estate companies for land, age-old land record system, taxation structure and cumbersome land transfer procedure have made the whole land system in the city unmanageable.
It says, "The situation has reached such a stage that these days most people cannot dream of owning an apartment let alone building houses with the help of lending institutions, as their monthly salary cannot meet installment requirements."
The study says the pressure on limited land in Dhaka has not only intensified urbanisation, it has also led to indiscriminate filling of lowland in the deltaic flood plans to make way for urban development.
"We're virtually forced to opt for the constructions of high-rise buildings because of high prices of land," President of Real Estate & Housing Association of Bangladesh (Rehab) Tanvirul Haque Probal told UNB.
"Although the high-rise building is the key to resolving housing problem in Dhaka city, we face various objections from the Civil Aviation Authorities to building skyscrapers," he said.
Asked about the risks for high-rises in an earthquake-prone area like Dhaka, Tanvirul said the city's soil condition is good enough to construct multistoried buildings. Even many earthquake-prone countries like Japan have adopted the policy of high-rise building, he added.
"The construction cost is increasing day by day with the rise of prices of construction materials. Moreover, developers have to build high-rise buildings on costly land," the Rehab President said.
About dwindling land area in the city, he said that the government should take steps to expand capital Dhaka and develop transport facilities in adjacent areas so that people can easily come to the capital from outside to attend their offices and businesses.
The government recently fixed the prices of land in Dhaka city to keep the price within the capacity of the city dwellers. However, the market prices of land in all parts of the capital are three to 15 times higher than the prices fixed by the government.
The minimum selling price of one katha of land has been fixed at Tk 10 lakh for Gulshan and Banani, Tk 3 lakh for Uttara, Tk 6 lakh for Mohammadpur and Tk 8 lakh for Mirpur.
But in reality, one katha of land is selling at more than Tk 1 crore at Gulshan and Banani and more than Tk 50 lakh at Lalmatia, according to developers.
Tanvir said the land price has increased five times in the last five years, as the gap between demand and supply is enormous.
He emphasised reconstruction of buildings by demolishing the old and unplanned ones owned by individuals.
Tanvir said about 15 percent of buildings in Dhaka city are constructed by Rehab and the remaining buildings had been constructed by individuals.
He said these owners have built low-rise buildings to serve their own purposes, not considering the commercial side.