Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh president and also Shamsul Alamin Real Estate Limited’s managing director Alamgir Shamsul Alamin Kajal said that government agencies should be involved with relators to find a way to arrange housing for the middle-income groups of people living in cities, especially in Dhaka.
Presently, the country needs roughly 20 lakh apartments for city dwellers, most of whom are middle-income people who could afford flats within Tk 30 to 50 lakh range. But we cannot ensure flats for them within these prices for the high price of land.
He said that flat prices in Dhaka were high mostly due to the high price of land and high constriction cost. Government agencies, including the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, the City Corporation and the National Housing Authority, in collaboration with realtors, could ensure housing for the middle-income groups of people by providing long-term loans in relatively easy conditions.
‘I request the National Housing Authority to join hands with my members for developing real estate in the country. Joint production of housing can be within an affordable price range,’ he said.
He also added that the government has taken some positive initiatives, including giving permission to invest undisclosed money in the housing sector. The decision has a positive impact but it failed to draw the attention of customers as the anti-corruption commission and other agencies still conduct inquiries behind such investments.
He also urged the government agencies to expedite the process of implementing the government decision.
SARE’s Alamgir Shamsul Alamin, better known as Kajal, said that single digit long-term housing loan for middle-income people was a must.
‘Considering housing as a basic demand of a person, government should ensure loan facility at the easiest conditions for middle-income people,’ he said.
He also said that as a huge number of service-holding people live in Dhaka only for their income-generating activities, they do not have the ability to invest several lakhs to buy flats. But they could refund the money if they were given loan on long-term basis.
Kajal said that a number of private companies have already started investing in second-hand market creation as many middle-income people wish to buy ready flats at reasonable prices.
He considered the move as a positive one, since he believed it would yield benefit.
‘The scope to own a house should be created by the government where middle-income people can refund their loan money by paying in instalment the same amount they spend on rent every month,’ he said.
He believed that if the government could ensure this, everyone would own a house in Dhaka, especially the middle-income people.
Individual landowners of different parts of the city are selling flats within the range of Tk 30-35 lakh, but not the realtors.
On the question of pricing, Kajal replied that REHAB members follow due procedure from approval to completion of the project and that is one primary reason for flats becoming costly.
‘As my members need registration, approval from government agencies, so their construction cost increases and they have to sell the flats at an increased rate,’ he said.
He pointed out that RAJUK’s approval for any project involved high cost.
He also added that most people do not have the ability to buy flats but they have a tendency to demand quality apartments when it comes to owning them. They want to buy luxurious flats if they could avail anyhow, so the realtors became habituated to offering the same.
Kajal compared Bangladesh’s situation with other countries where he found small and simple flats.
‘In other countries we have seen 400 to 500-square-foot flat, but people
In our country say it is smaller than a toilet and their dislike for small flat is well recorded,’ he said.
After drawing his attention to cheating the REHAB members have been accused of, he said that REHAB was taking actions against the realtors involved in cheating the aspirants. In last five years, at least 1,000 different types of allegations were solved by REHAB. A number of realtors lost their membership too, he confirmed.
Kajal said that for low-price land and affordable housing, government should set up some satellite cities on and around the capital.
‘One the authorities develop communication facilities with the satellites, both residents and realtors would be interested to move out of the main city,’ he said.
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