More affordable Pakistan housing units needed

More affordable Pakistan housing units needed
More affordable Pakistan housing units needed

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Foreclosure framework likely to be introduced soon, would help attract new buyers into the market

Developers, financial institutions and other stakeholders in Pakistan's real estate industry should focus on the affordable housing segment to attract more buyers as the cost of land and construction have gone very high in recent years, experts said.

Leading developers, consultants and experts said policymakers and decision-makers should evolve foreclosure rules, develop long-term payment plans and practical mortgage policies to develop the property sector in line with the international market trends. They further said there is a need to rationalise construction costs and bring down high interest rates to affordable limits.

Talking to Al Khaleej Today at the Pakistan Property Show in , which concluded on high note on Saturday with a record 20,000 visitors during its two-day run, experts said the sector needs strong regulations to protect the interests of buyers, developers, contractors and other stakeholders.

"We need to think more seriously to develop more affordable real estate projects in Pakistan as the construction cost is too high now," Zeeshan Ali Khan, CEO of Zameen.com, told Al Khaleej Today.

To a question, he said a foreclosure framework is likely to be introduced soon and it will help attract new buyers into the market.

"We should develop a strong mortgage system to make the real estate affordable in Pakistan. It is the only sustainable option; we need to seriously introduce in Pakistan to ensure that every one will own a house in the country," he said.

Aitzaz Siddhu, property consultant for Khanial Homes, said there is need to introduce long-term payment plans.

"Currently, we have payment options for maximum up to five years. We need to have at least 10-year payment plans so housing will be affordable for majority of the middle class in the country," he said.

Adeel Zubairi, a Dubai-based banker, said interest rates are very high in Pakistan and it needs to be brought down to an affordable range, at least for housing sector. "With 13.25 per cent discount rates and up to 20 per cent markup on housing loans, it is very difficult developers will get real buyers for their projects," he said.

Ideal opportunity

The government of Pakistan participated in the Pakistan Property Show for the first time this year. On the directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Privatisation Commission of Pakistan has been tasked with engaging the expatriate community in an effort to find buyers for dead-weight government properties. "Such events provide an ideal opportunity to engage with overseas Pakistanis because of their phenomenal outreach," said Iftikhar Hussain Naqvi, director-general of the Privatisation Commission.

This was the third annual edition of the show, which was arranged by Zameen.com. The previous two editions generated a combined audience of more than 31,000. Amjad Ahmad Ali, Consul-General of Pakistan in UAE, graced the occasion as special guest on its final day.

Prominent media anchors Moeed Pirzada, Waseem Badami and Mansoor Ali Khan also attended the event and interacted with the exhibitors. A total of 64 exhibitors offered property options from Pakistan's most important cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Multan, Peshawar and Murree, among several others.

"The success of the Pakistan Property Show is in fact the success of UAE-based Pakistanis, whose participation generates an invaluable inflow of foreign exchange to Pakistan," Ali Khan said.

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