Breaking away from the notion of a normal home, well-off people are going big by choosing to live in premium homes that offer a luxurious lifestyle rather than just a postal address.
Over the past 10 years, the high priced housing sector has witnessed investments amounting to around Tk1,00,000 crore, with intent to meet demands of homebuyers looking for an ultra-modern lifestyle.
From use of state-of-the-art construction materials to modern technology, everything is directed at making the living experience in high-end homes extraordinary. Such homes come with features, such as playgrounds, greenery, swimming pools, gyms, manicured lawns and much more.
Rich businessmen, expatriates, politicians and bureaucrats in the capital are major buyers of luxury apartments as they want more than four walls – all comforts with ecological balance and a lot of open spaces in homes, industry insiders say.
In recent years, the wealthy people in a large number have been moving into luxury housing.
A 50% growth in investment in 5 years
The sector got an investment of Tk8,000 crore in 2015, Tk10,000 crore in 2016, Tk10,500 crore in 2017, Tk11,000 crore in 2018, Tk12,000 crore in 2019 and Tk12,000 crore in 2020, according to Bangladesh Institute of Planners.
Naimul Hassan, director of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB), said about Tk1,00,000 crore has been invested in the housing sector annually. Of the amount, about 10% was spent on the luxury housing sector.
Last year the entire sector's investment increased to Tk1.5 lakh crore, he added.
Dr Adil Muhammad Khan, former general secretary of Bangladesh Institute of Planners, said, before 2000, one or two companies were involved in luxury apartment business. Since 2005, more housing companies have stepped up given the homebuyers' growing need for more comfortable living experience.
These real estate companies have taken up projects to build luxury apartments in upscale areas, such as Gulshan, Banani, Dhanmondi, Mirpur, Baridhara and Uttara.
South Breeze Housing Ltd, a real estate company, has already built some exclusive apartments with state-of-the-art materials, such as expensive stones, concrete, bricks and wood, and technology, in the capital's Gulshan-2 under the project named "South Leaf".
Such apartments do not need artificial lighting during the day with natural light and air entering the rooms. The spacious balcony in each apartment with a vertical garden offers an exotic view. The buildings also come with a rooftop swimming pool, children's playgrounds, gyms and walking space facilities.
Such apartments come in two sizes - 3,720 and 4,360 square feet, while the size of a duplex apartment is 7,440 square feet.
Wishing anonymity, a businessman, who recently bought an apartment in this project for Tk12 crore, told The Business Standard, "Most of the time I stay abroad for business. I could not find a good environment in Dhaka. But the South Leaf project is completely different."
The ecological balance in this apartment is absolutely perfect. You cannot find this in any other housing projects, he added.
Regarding the astronomical price, he said, "Money is not an issue. It is about having a suitable place for a comfortable living experience. That is what I got here."
South Breeze Housing, which started its journey of building luxury apartments and commercial spaces in the capital in 1990, has so far completed 30 luxury apartment projects in Gulshan, Banani, Dhanmondi and Mirpur areas, and 11 more projects are currently under-construction.
On condition of anonymity, a company official said a 3,720 sq. ft apartment costs Tk12 crore and a 4,360 sq. ft Tk16 crore. The price of a 7,440 sq. ft duplex apartment is Tk24 crore.
The official said the company has so far invested around Tk4,000 crore in this sector.
Apart from South Breeze, about 20 housing companies in the capital are also building such luxury apartments. Shanta Holdings is one of them that has built the most luxurious apartments in the capital.
According to company sources, Shanta Holdings started its luxury housing business in 2005. So far, the company has handed over 36 projects to customers. The housing company is currently working on 24 projects. In addition, the company is going to start 18 new projects.
Shanta Holdings has an investment of about Tk5,000 crore in this business.
Building Technologies and Ideas Ltd, Concord Real Estate Limited, Navana Real Estate, Sheltech, Nakshi Homes Ltd, Sanmar Properties, Rangs Properties, Assure Group, ABC Real Estate, Artisan Real Estate, Dom-Inno, Alliance Properties, Epic Properties, Edison Real Estate, and Regent Design & Development are also engaged in constructing luxury apartments in the city.
The luxury homebuyers
Barrister Ajmalul Hossain QC, a senior Supreme Court lawyer, bought an apartment of 3,500 sq. ft from the Rangs Waterfront project of Rangs Properties Limited in Gulshan-1 for Tk16 crore.
"The two houses that I inherited from my father do not have modern facilities. That is why I bought this apartment," he told TBS.
Amalendu Biswas, general manager and head of sales at Rangs Properties Limited, said, "We have implemented six projects in Gulshan-1 and- 2 areas in the last few years. Most of these luxury apartments were bought by businessmen and expatriates. Some politicians and bureaucrats are also going for these.
According to company officials, Rangs Properties Limited, which has invested Tk4,000 crore in the sector, has so far implemented 32 luxury apartment projects in the capital.
Iqbal Habib, architect and urban planner, said, "Most of the country's wealth is in the hands of a certain class. They always prefer luxury in almost everything. In particular, they always want to make their homes as comfortable as possible."
Most people who buy luxury apartments have more than one house in the capital. They also buy such apartments that are constructed maintaining ecological balance and open environment, he added.
However, economist Ahsan H Mansur said there is an opportunity to invest undisclosed money in the capital market and real estate sectors. "If black money is invested in these two sectors, no government agencies, including the Anti-Corruption Commission, question the sources of this money. That is why many businessmen, politicians and expatriates are investing in luxury apartment projects."
Md Shahadat Hossain, director of REHAB and chairman of Jams Developments Ltd said, "The luxury apartment project has not been affected by Covid-19 because these are usually long-term projects. Customers generally book these apartments a long time before these are handed over.
But the companies are now facing financial losses owing to an abnormal rise in prices of construction materials, he added.
Ten companies, including TM Assets Ltd, East Valley Development Ltd, Fortuna Green City, Jams Developments Ltd, and Equity Property Management Limited have invested heavily in building luxurious apartments in the last two years. They have invested around Tk10,000 crore in this sector.
Moreover, about 10 real estate companies, including Sanmar Properties Limited, Saf Holding Ltd, Equity Property Management Limited, Shah Amanat Properties Ltd and Ghowsia Properties & Builders have made investments amounting to around Tk5,000 crore in the last five years in Chattogram.
ABM Amin Ullah Noori, chairman Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, said, "We give priority to approving such housing projects that are implemented by maintaining all the rules and regulations."