The Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) has organised a four-day fair in the port city. The REHAB Chattogram Fair 2020 started on February 6 at the Radisson Blu Chattogram Bay View, and will end today. Real estate companies of the city have been showcasing their projects in the fair to attract clients. In conversations with The Business Standard, officials of six real estate companies of Chattogram describe the challenges and prospects of the sector.
Managing Director, Jumaira Holdings Ltd
At one point the housing business in Chattogram had gotten stagnant. But the good days are back now. All flats are being sold before completion of the projects.
The government now allows housing loans of up to Tk2 crore and reduced the flat registration fees by 2 percent.
At present, the demand for 1,500 to 2,000 square feet flats are high among buyers. The prices of these flats range from Tk80 lakh to Tk1.5 crore.
Jumaira Holdings Ltd emphasises on constructing environmentally friendly buildings. Our projects are based on the principle of green housing. We have already handed over 22 projects to customers. Currently, 10 projects are running.
Md Mahmudul Haque
Chief Operating Officer, ANZ Properties Ltd
The demand for flats is on the rise. There is high demand for flats ranging in sizes from 1,000-1,500 and 2,500-3,000 square feet.
We have expanded our projects to different areas of the city to reach different classes of people.
We are showcasing seven upcoming projects in this year's REHAB fair. At present, customers can book flats at three of our ongoing projects in Chattogram.
ANZ Properties started its operation in the port city in 2004. We have already handed over 40 projects to our customers in different areas of the city.
Since we finance our own projects, we finish the projects on time.
Engineer Anwar Hossain
Director, Epic Properties Ltd
The condition of the real estate business in Chattogram is better now compared to that five to six years ago.
Epic Properties has nine ongoing projects in different areas of Chattogram. The size of each flat is 1,275-4,000 square feet. The price of per square feet is Tk4,000-Tk8,000, depending on the location. There is a high demand for flats priced at Tk70-Tk80 lakh.
So far, we have handed over 24 projects to our clients.
We emphasise on aesthetics and civic facilities in our projects. There are day-care centres, swimming pools, senior citizens' clubs, youth clubs and gardens at one of our projects in Lalkhan Bazar.
Tanvir Shahriar Rimon
Chief Executive Officer, Ranks FC Properties
Middle-class people cannot buy a flat priced at Tk1.5-Tk2 crore. But it is this class that has the most demand for flats. So prices have to be kept within their reach.
They can purchase flats if prices are fixed at Tk60-Tk80 lakh. Otherwise, this sector will not be sustainable. The sector will progress quickly if registration fees are cut and the process of getting loans is made easier.
People in different countries, including Malaysia and Singapore, have been living in flats of 700-800 square feet in size. But here, a flat below 1,200 square feet is considered a small one. People in Chattogram think that a flat should have three bedrooms. But that would cost more.
General Manager, Sanmar Properties Limited
The real estate sector is stable now. Different government measures have helped restore customers' trust.
Now the government officials get housing loans. Many private banks are also giving home loans. The government has taken a number of positive initiatives to invigorate the housing sector which has brought back the good old days.
But the land price is a problem for us. If land prices go down, we could sell an apartment for as low as Tk50 lakh. We have undertaken some projects outside the city, where land prices are still affordable.
In business, we make sure to fulfil our social responsibility to the customers.
Manager, Finley Properties Limited
There was tough competition in the housing sector in Chattogram till 2013. The scenario improved after the 2018 election. There are many lands lying idle in Chattogram. Land prices are high here. But the price is still low in rural areas, so we have started projects there. We will start projects at the upazila-level soon.
The housing business in Bangladesh started with upper-class customers. Once, the companies used to build flats larger than 2,000 square feet. But the target group now is the middle class. Now we are planning to build 1,000-1,200 square feet flats.
The Chittagong Development Authority, our regulatory body, makes us wait too long for construction permits. It needs to automate to solve this problem.