The News report by Hina Mahgul Rind
Property prices have shot up in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi – as the law and order situation continues to force residents to go there from other parts of the country.
This is particularly true of Karachi – which has seen a massive influx to the twin cities and also to Dubai.
“The prices have doubled in Islamabad and its adjacent areas”, said Malik Zulfiqar a real estate dealer at Hussain Builders and Properties in Islamabad.
He added that the property value of land in areas like Pakistan Town, Korang, PWD Housing Scheme, Police Foundation, Bharia Town phase 7 and 8, and DHA Islamabad are booming. These are new development projects and are highly in demand as they are located just 15 kilometers from Islamabad Highway.
Zulfiqar also said that a 10 marla house which was priced up to Rs.5million six months ago has now doubled. A one Kanal house – that used to be between Rs.6.5 million to Rs.7million a few months earlier – is now between Rs.18 million to Rs.19 million.
Azad Khan – another real state dealer – said that prices in the developed areas or city center are unaffordable for the new settlers. This trend is pushing the prices of the property near Islamabad Highway – where these new projects have been built and more are being developed.
The main reason for the increase in property is the law and order situation in the country. Certain areas and cities now are considered safe as compared to areas where low income groups reside – and where the law and order situation is fragile.
“People in Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta are particularly concerned about the deteriorating law and order situation,” said Aqeel Karim Dhedhi, Chairman AKD Group.
“They are moving to Islamabad or to Dubai as it is perceived to be safer.”
He added that people in the high income group are settling their families in Dubai. Those who can not shift to Dubai are moving to Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Dhedhi explains that in Karachi, the situation is increasingly tense – people are moving from the disturbed areas to Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and Clifton. The property here is booming again as citizens under siege opt to move here.
According to him – at least 85 percent of Karachi is in the midst of a law and order crisis. This has put pressure on the remaining 15 percent – thus pushing up property prices and rent.
Prices here have increased three time; In DHA the price of apartments is Rs.8000 per sq feet, in Clifton Rs.8500, in Bath island Rs.8500 and Frere Hall costs Rs.9000 per sq feet.
Commercial plot rates are even more expensive, with Rs.250,000 per square yard and Rs.55000 per square yard in areas mentioned above – making them three times more than the residential property, Dhedhi said
The remaining 85percent of the city – which includes areas like Lyari, Mangopir, New Karachi, Korangi, Orangi, Liaqatabad, Baldia Town and other areas have a lot of potential for housing for the majority lower income group.
But due to the unstable law and order situation – construction here has been very slow for the last five years.
Dhedhi added that even in the current year the areas which were considered safe and affordable for the middle income groups have also been affected. These include such areas as Bhadurabad, Jamshed Road, Hasan Square, Gulshan-Iqbal, Shahra-e-Faisal and Shaheed-e-Millat Road. Prices of property in these areas have also dropped drastically.
Lawlessness remains the major hurdle in stopping the flow of investment in this sector. However, since the new government has come into power, it is being expected that the real estate sector will get a boom as many people prefer to invest in real estate sector to secure their investment. However the situation in Karachi is still uncertain and pressure continues on its ‘safe’ 15 percent area – where availability of the property is scarce, said Dhedhi.