KARACHI: The low-cost housing schemes by private builders announced in great numbers all over the country have witnessed extraordinary public interest which has led to price hikes in properties in some cities and over subscription of projects in others.
According to real estate insiders, many more housing projects are in the books of both top and small developers of Pakistan and would be launched after Muharram.
These projects have been initiated in Islamabad, Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad and Mardan and have received tremendous responses from the common public.
“Pakistan’s backlog of 8.8 million houses may now be met to at least some extent,” voiced Vice President of FPCCI Sub-committee of Housing and Construction Munir Sultan.
He said this backlog was of homes for lower and middle income groups who found it difficult to build their own shelters for their heads and therefore lived in slums or ‘katchi abadis’.
With the new housing development plans, the annual requirement of 1.5 million homes may be met at least half way through. But Sultan says, even this is not enough.
“The government has not given any incentives in many years and though they have promised the world verbally, nothing has come about in writing or in practice,” he added.
Sultan states the government had banned land allotments for the past seven years and now this ban should be removed so that the value of empty plots also comes down.
He further expressed that the government should encourage satellite towns in suburbs to also deal with the backlog in the country. “The government should also give us incentives as they have provided to foreign developers and builders in the country,” he continued.
“Foreign builders would take the money back to their countries, however, the same incentives if provided to local builders would help them to expand and introduce more projects,” he pointed out.
On the other hand, another known developer requesting to remain anonymous said that since investments in the real estate sector were returning into Pakistan, the government should ensure security for local developers.
Referring to the Dubai based law of escrow accounts, which ensures protection against fraud and embezzlement, the developer said it was essential for a similar rule to be initiated in Pakistan so that developers “do not run away”.
He said day light robbery and fraud cases in Pakistan were a norm and when a lot of black money was being converted into investments in shape of low cost housing projects, then protection of the investors was of the top most priority and the government should sit up and be more attentive now.
The basis of financial crises all over the world was due to the insecure housing loans which led to about 35 per cent downfall in the housing sector in US and 45 per cent in Europe, he added.
Since more investments are expected to come in the next four to five months, and Federal Minister for Housing and Works Rehmatullah Kakar has also announced investments worth $700 billion would be entering the country, the government should pass new laws for this industry as a revival in the real estate sector would also lead towards uplift of the economy, he concluded.[The News]