Visitors show interest in small apartments
Retired government serviceman Saiful Islam's long cherished dream of owning a home in the capital may come true this time as developers are focusing on low-cost and small to mid-sized apartments.
"Like anybody else, I always wanted to own an apartment in Dhaka, but my main concern is the soaring cost," said Islam on Wednesday, who was visiting the
annual housing fair, organised by REHAB, with the hope to find a flat in Mohammadpur area at a price affordable to him.
Like Islam, thousands of people, mainly middle class, crowded the fair to check out a range of offers.
"I had a plan to buy a big-size apartment to have more space for my family, but considering the skyrocketing price I am now looking into mid-size flats", said Shahidul Islam, a businessman.
The price for every square foot of apartment was around Tk 1,600 in Shegunbagicha area even two years ago, but now it is Tk 3,500, Islam added blaming soaring costs of construction materials as the reason behind the price hike.
Visitors' claim was echoed by the participants who said prices of apartments have gone up by almost 40 percent in the last two years mainly due to the high prices of construction materials.
Just two years ago, price of 60 grade MS rod was between Tk 22,000 and Tk 25,000 per tonne which is now between Tk 44,000 and Tk 48,000, said Mahmudur Rahman, an official of Square Homes Ltd.
A bag of quality cement that now sells at Tk 370 was Tk 240, he added.
According to REHAB (Real Estate Housing Association of Bangladesh), developers are eyeing middle income people to sell small flats ranging between 600 and 800 square feet as big-size apartment sales dropped in the last 10 months because of high registration costs, soaring raw material prices and the ongoing anti-crime drive.
REHAB members who are participating in the fair are very positive about the response.
"People are very interested to own a flat in the mega city as you can see a huge number of visitors have already arrived in the morning of a working-day," said MZH Qureshi of City Axis Ltd.
When asked about customers' main considerations in decision-making, Qureshi pointed out a number of factors including price, location, size, design and safety issues.
Abdullah Al Mamun, assistant manager of Unitech Design and Development Ltd, observed people don't like to change their location of usual residence and generally buy an apartment in their neighbourhoods.
"Now all REHAB members have to follow National Building Code (NBC) which ensures a building would survive a strong earthquake," Mamun added.
A total of 136 REHAB members are participating in the fair while five financing companies are showcasing their services. The 5-day fair that began on Tuesday is open to all with an entry fee of Tk 50.