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REHAB Winter Fair 2021: Plots, flats beyond reach of middle-class

REHAB Winter Fair 2021: Plots, flats beyond reach of middle-class

Buyers are mostly looking for medium-sized flats of 1,200 to 2,000 sq ft, preferentially in the Mohammadpur, Lalmatia, Mirpur, and Uttara areas of the capital

The REHAB Winter Fair 2021 is seeing good turnout this year, but prices of the flats and plots are out of the reach of the middle-class, according to several visitors.

Even after going through most of the stalls at the event, visitors say they were unable to find anything affordable.

“The price is two to three times more than what we can afford. If you go to see a big flat in a good place, the price is more than Tk1 crore and the booking money is also high,” said Babar Ali, a private employee and a resident of Shyamoli.

There are no flats available at the fair for less than Tk7,500 per sq ft, which is quite out of the reach for middle-income people like him, he added.

“I have to shell out Tk90 lakh to buy a 1,200-sq-ft flat. That is way beyond my capacity,” Ali further said.

Most of the companies are taking 30% of total flat prices as the booking money, which also seem high to the self-identifying middle-class visitors at the event.

The middle-class buyers flocking to the five-day Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) fair are mostly government employees, young businessmen, and top officials of private organizations.

Medium-sized flats of 1,200 to 2,000 sq ft are what several of these buyers are looking for, preferentially in the Mohammadpur, Lalmatia, Mirpur, and Uttara areas of the capital.

Mohammad Abdul Mannan, a buyer from Nikunja, said: “The prices of the flats are too high; the down payment is pretty steep too. Even booking a flat with a 30% down payment is not possible for us.”

What the participants say

Anwar Landmark, one of the prominent real estate companies of the country, is exhibiting 26 projects at the fair, the cheapest of which costs Tk9,500 per sq ft.

Mohammad Rakib Hossain, deputy sales and marketing general manager at Anwar Landmark, said it has to be acknowledged that flats are now out of reach of the middle-class.

“However, the main reason for the increase in flat prices is the unusual rise in the price of building materials,” he added.

In the last few months, the price of rod has increased up to Tk20,000 per metric ton and the prices of cement, tiles, paint are also on the rise.

“So, there is no way but to increase the price of flats. However, we are also thinking about our lower middle-income buyers and have plans to start some affordable projects for them,” he added.

Sujan Kumar Deshmukhya, sales and marketing executive of Amin Mohammad Foundation, had a similar take on the matter.

There is no denying that the prices of flats are a bit high, he said.

“However, if the price of building materials continues to rise uncontrollably, the flats will also get costlier in the future,” he added.

“We are exhibiting 35 projects in the fair and the flats are priced from Tk7,000 to Tk30,000 per sq ft, based on location,” Deshmukhya added.

Sheltech, one of the top real estate companies of Bangladesh, is exhibiting 25 projects at the fair and the lowest price of their project is Tk6500 per sq ft.

An assistant general manager of Sheltech said that the size of their high-end flats range between 1,700 sq ft and 2,000 sq ft, catering mainly to the middle and upper-middle-class buyers.

“We are getting good response. Due to Covid-19, the fair was not held in 2020, therefore our expectations for this year’s fair are also very high,” he added.

Friday and Saturday, being holidays, saw a large number of visitors at the fair, according to the organizers.

According to REHAB, the fair is an initiative to bring clients, developers, building materials companies, and financial institutions under a single umbrella.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi inaugurated the 22nd REHAB Fair on Thursday December 23 and visitors will be able to visit the fair every day from 10am to 9pm till Monday.

About 150 housing companies are taking part in the fair, which has a total of 220 stalls.

Additionally, there are 15 stalls exhibiting construction materials, along with stalls by 30 banks and financial institutions.

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