Anwar Landmark, one of the leading real estate developers, wants to expand its business, saying demand was rising rapidly for affordable flats and buildings among consumers like corporate executives, professionals like doctors and engineers and high-ranking government officials.
The developer has a target to take up at least 25 new housing projects next year, particularly ones involving condominiums, as it had in previous years to meet growing demand for affordable accommodation in Dhaka.
Anwar Landmark has a target to build four condominiums at four major sites in Dhaka in two to three years as the communication is easing like beginning of the metro rail and flyovers.
In the outgoing year, Anwar Landmark constructed buildings whose combined floor space will equal nearly three lakh square feet, said Managing Director Hossain Khaled in an interview at his office in Dhaka last week.
This was a 20 per cent year-on-year growth even amidst domestic and global economic downtrends, he said.
During the discussion on the country’s real estate sector and his business, Khaled spoke about the rough patch the economy was going through for the Russia-Ukraine war and severe fallouts of the pandemic.
Up until now, the sector has not been that much affected when compared with the global economic volatility and domestic economic downturns, he said.
The sector, including his company, is still continuing to grow despite the economic crunch but prices of raw materials have gone up by 40 per cent to 50 per cent, said Khaled.
Real estate companies are having to bear the additional costs as the prices of their products had been negotiated a lot earlier, he said.
Khaled cited two main reasons for the sector remaining unaffected from high inflation and economic downturns.
The sector does not need to import raw materials spending billions of US dollars and most projects of different companies were negotiated way before the start of the war in February this year, he said.
The US dollar crisis in the banking sector also did not have an effect, for which Anwar Landmark was able to hand over to customers structures of six projects upon their construction, a figure he said to be attaining almost every year.
Over the past 21 years, Anwar Landmark implemented 150 projects and handed over the structures to customers, he said.
The Anwar Group of Industries, the mother company of Anwar Landmark, facilitates access to loans for the developer’s customers through its involvement with City Bank, Bangladesh Finance and Modhumoti Bank alongside 20 other non-banking financial institutions, said Khaled.
Regarding the interest rate, he said previously banks used to charge 13 per cent on home loans but now has lowered it to nine per cent, which was helping both customers and developers.
He, however, said the loan repayment period should be extended to 20 years to 30 years instead of being limited to 10 years so that the instalment amounts can be reduced and loans and housing made more affordable.
This is already in practice in developing and developed countries, he said, adding that the government and central bank should work on it so that the masses can avail loans.
Similarly, the government could issue a “housing bond” to collect long-term funds that could be used to provide loans to the sector’s customers, he said.
From the sector’s perspectives, the latest Detailed Area Plan (DAP) for Dhaka of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, the capital development authority, has both good aspects alongside bad ones, said Khaled.
If the new DAP is implemented, many in the sector may not be able to sustain themselvesand unfortunately consumers will ultimately not be able to benefit that much, he said.
Discussions should have been held with the major stakeholders and the sector, which accounts for 17 per cent of the national GDP and the creation of millions of jobs, before the DAP was finalised, he said.
Real estate businesses should also be developed outside of Dhaka. “Dhaka does not mean Bangladesh,” said Khaled.
“If we can take real estate business with adequate facilities like educational institutions and healthcare facilities to the district and divisional cities, we can lessen the burden on Dhaka,” he said.
“We want to develop buildings outside of Dhaka…it is not possible…as the demand is not too high,” Khaled said.