As demand for apartments larger than 1,500 square feet increase in Dhaka, real estate developers are now opting to build large, comfortable and luxurious flats instead of low cost small apartments.
The middle and upper classes now want apartments surrounded by greenery and overlooking a lake.
According to urban planners, the rise in demand for larger and more expensive apartments is a reflection of the fact that living in the capital is becoming more expensive. Only the upper and upper-middle class can afford to own expensive houses in the city.
Dhaka was ranked 47th most expensive city in Mercer's 25th annual Cost of Living survey, jumping from 66th a year earlier. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) Worldwide Cost of Living 2018 index, Dhaka is the 72nd most expensive city in the world.
Suvastu Space Development Limited has recently finished constructing the Suvastu Preetul Heights building beside Gulshan lake. The building, erected on 13 kathas (1.09 acres) of land, has 28 apartments – the largest of which is 5,254 square feet (sq ft).
All apartments in the building have five verandas. The building also boasts automatic gate openers using vehicle registration plate readers, remote-controlled lights and air conditioners, elevators, a rooftop garden, alarm system for emergencies connected to smartphones, and remote CCTV monitoring.
Officials of Suvastu Space Development said the aesthetically pleasing apartment building is surrounded by greenery. As they constructed the building using concrete, which is more expensive than bricks, the biggest flat costs Tk12.30 crore.
The company also made about 24 similar apartment buildings in Gulshan, Banani, and Baridhara areas of Dhaka. None of the apartments in those buildings are smaller than 3,000 sq ft, costing from Tk7 crore to Tk12 crore.
Md Aktaruzzaman, general manager (brand) of Suvastu Space Development Limited, said, "Suvastu recognises that there is much more to a home than bricks and stones. Every brick that it lays, every corner that it designs, and every fixture that it sets, is aimed at beautification of lifestyles with sincere care and nurture."
Another developer, Innstar BD Ltd, is incorporating green fences in the large modern homes they are developing in Gulshan and Banani.
One of their buildings, Innstar Infinity, is situated on the main road beside Gulshan Lake. All the apartments of the building on 18 kathas (1.5 acres) of land are 4,720 sq ft big. The building also features modern facilities including a gym, a rooftop garden, steam room, pool and party area, and 50 percent open space.
"All the apartments made by us are green and smart. These are the best residences to make life easy and serene. All the apartments are free from the air pollution of the city," said Arman Haque, chairman of Innstar BD Ltd.
Building Technology and Ideas Ltd (BTI) has developed more than 300 apartment buildings in Dhaka and Chattogram. The company categorises their apartments as premium, classic, and high standard which range from 2,500 to 5,000 sq ft in size.
The company's premium apartments in Gulshan, Banani, and Baridhara cost from Tk10 crore to Tk12 crore.
BTI is emphasising on greenery and automatic intelligence systems in all their luxury apartments.
Along with these, their buildings have water flow limiters, rainwater harvesting systems, solar panels, and water detectors that send notifications to dwellers to prevent flooding in their apartments.
BTI Managing Director MR Khan said, "People now demand beautiful interiors and serene environments, along with all the basic facilities inside their apartments."
Sheltech Bithika is a new project of developer Sheltech (Pvt) Limited.
Located in Mirpur, the building is built on 68 kathas (5.7 acres) of land, 20 kathas of which are preserved as a green area. With 184 apartments, the project has all the modern facilities including swimming pool, fountains, community halls, rain water harvesting system, playground and gymnasium.
The apartments range from 1,500 to 2,000 sq ft and cost around Tk1 crore to Tk3 crore.
"We have added extra facilities such as UL-certified fire-rated glass in our commercial projects, disability access in at least one bathroom per apartment, and sustainable features such as rainwater harvesting system that can store a water supply that can last seven months," said Kutubuddin Ahmed, chairman of Sheltech (Pvt) Limited.
Multinational real estate company Rakeen Bangladesh has undertaken a housing project Rakeen Tranquil Town in Kanchpur, sprawling over 120 bighas (48 acres) of land. It includes a swimming pool, fountain, community hall, rain water harvesting system, playground and gymnasium, and is built beside a lake.
Meanwhile, Navana Real Estate Ltd has almost finished the Navana Tranquility apartment building in Gulshan. Their apartments range from 3,897 sq ft to 4,100 sq ft. Navana's apartment buildings too are surrounded by large green areas and provide all modern facilities.
Its buildings are located in Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara, Basundhara and Rampura areas of Dhaka. They have more than 200 modern and luxury apartment buildings in Dhaka and Chattogram.
Mohammed Fasiul Mowla, director (operative) of Navana Real Estate, said, "We are trying to give something new, something other than just bricks and tiles. Stones are used in all our new apartments which include all ultramodern facilities."
Rangs Properties has recently finished constructing their apartment building Rangs Lake Placid in Gulshan. The modern apartment building has rainwater harvesting system, rooftop garden, VRF air conditioning, swimming pool, fitness centre, lobby, lounge, and landscaping.
"Our main speciality is to build 'green fence' walls instead of using bricks and steel. In addition to using it for the 'Lake Placid' building in Gulshan, we are incorporating these in all our ongoing projects in Banani, Basundhara, Baridhara and Dhanmondi," said Mashid Rahman, director of Rangs Properties.
"Green fences augment the beauty of homes and reduce pollution by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. These homes also provide a calm environment for the dwellers," he added.
Many other multinational companies are also coming forward to make luxury and green homes in Dhaka.
What is the price range?
The Business Standard found that the Infinity Apartment in Gulshan, made by Innstar Bd, is the costliest in Dhaka. Selling at Tk29,000 per sq ft, an apartment of 4,720 sq ft is sold at Tk13.68 crore.
The second costliest apartments in the city are those in Suvastu Preetul Heights, with each apartment costing Tk12.30 crore.
Advertisement and marketplace consultant firms – bikroy.com and bproperty.com – have conducted a research on the price of the apartments in different areas of Dhaka.
According to the data provided by these two firms, apartments in Gulshan 2 are the most expensive ones. Each square foot costs around Tk15,500 to Tk30,000 in the area. The second priciest flats in the city are in Baridhara, where each square foot costs around Tk14,000 to Tk22,000.
One other hand, apartments which cost the lowest are located in Mohammadpur, where each square foot costs around Tk4,000 to Tk8,000.