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Vertical cities set to transform Pakistan realty sector

Muzaffar Rizvi/Dubai
Filed on December 6, 2019 | Last updated on December 6, 2019 at 09.49 pm

Marwan bin Ghalita touring the Pakistan Property Show in Dubai on Friday.
(Photo by Mohammad Mustafa Khan)

The Pakistan Property Show in Dubai attracted a good-sized crowd on Friday.
(Photo by Mohammad Mustafa Khan)

Pakistan Property Show showcasing property's biggest names, featuring major projects from key areas

Pakistan's real estate industry has immense potential to grow and ongoing reforms will boost the sector in coming years, an industry expert said at the Pakistan Property Show in Dubai.

Zeeshan Ali Khan, chief executive of Zameen.com, said the reforms should resolve industry stakeholders' main problems, especially with reference to taxation.

"There is no second opinion that the industry needs stronger rules and regulations to bring stability in the sector, but at the same time we need to create awareness about the accounting standards and taxation payments," he said, adding that reforms will put a much better system in place for the industry.

Marwan bin Ghalita, chief executive of Dubai's Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera), inaugurated the two-day property show on Friday.

"I've seen a lot of [Pakistani] companies offering unique projects, sharing data and knowledge form Pakistan to Dubai and Dubai to Pakistan," bin Ghalita said after interacting with various exhibitors and senior management of Zameen.com

"Today there are no borders for investment and real estate is the biggest investment that everybody is looking for."

The show featured the biggest names from Pakistan's biggest cities like Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Multan, Peshawar, Murree, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Raheem Yar Khan, Gwadar, Bahawalpur and DG Khan.

Haider Ali Khan, CEO of Bayut.com, senior officials from Rera and other leading developers from Pakistan were also present on the occasion.

Zameen.com, which so far held more than 17 major property exhibitions in different countries, has attracted over one million visitors. In the previous two editions of the Pakistan Property Show in Dubai in 2017 and 2018, the portal attracted more than 31,000 visitors.

Zeeshan Ali Khan said there is a slowdown in the market due to the overall weak global economy.

"The industry is passing through a correction phase. Buyers are still in the real market, but there is a slowdown in sales activity at the moment as people prefer to hold their cash and are not ready to spend," he said. "We are heading into the right direction. Transactions have started to pick up now and the outlook for the next two years is good, especially if economy performs better."

"Most of the deals are from general buyers looking for homes or investment for a longer period. So, Pakistan's real estate is no more a short-term market."

He said the government's decision to encourage setting up vertical cities will transform the sector and more high-rise buildings are expected to overcome shortage of housing units in the country.

"Major cities such as Lahore will see more vertical projects, which are also affordable," he said.

He said there are ample investment opportunities in the property sector that will help the development of real estate industry. "Real estate has a bright future in Pakistan. There is a huge demand from low-income groups that needs to be addressed," he added.

He termed the Naya (new) Pakistan Housing Programme a brilliant effort to revive the industry.

"It was a much-needed move and we need to support the Naya Pakistan Housing Programne. The target of building five million houses is huge and even if we achieve 20 per cent of it, I will consider this a big success," he said.

To a question, he said public-private partnerships will be very helpful to boost the property sector - but it needs strong rules and regulations. He also highlighted growing investment in off-plan projects and said more than 500 projects are in progress in major cities of the country.

"We need to build a strong mortgage system in the country to develop real estate industry on a strong base," he said.

He said the Pakistan Property Show offers overseas Pakistanis a chance to explore rewarding investment opportunities in some of the most reliable and promising real estate projects in the country.

- muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com


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