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Land: The invulnerable investment

  • Published at 07:10 pm November 26th, 2019
Bproperty land
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Going back hundreds and thousands of years, the rate of appreciation for land has rarely wavered regardless of culture or location

What do you view as the most valuable investment – stocks, gold or land? Stock prices can go up and down and be unstable at times. Even the most profitable stocks can suddenly see its value drop drastically. Gold, on the other hand, is the standard of wealth. It is very valuable, and prices rarely vary. However, Gold is expendable – once used, it is gone or exchanged for something else. Land, however, is an asset that can benefit you for years to come without ever deteriorating in value or volume. In fact, proper usage will help you to increase both of these aspects. That is why many consider buying land as the safest investment.

Going back hundreds and thousands of years, the rate of appreciation for land has rarely wavered regardless of culture or location. Every civilization has valued, fought for, conquered or bought land from others, because this is an asset that allows the owner to use it, as well as its resources, for a wide range of growth and development. And the demand for land is at an all-time high. 

War and conquest have given away to “real estate” transactions where people buy and sell all sorts of properties like homes, flats, offices and, yes, land. Real estate investment – land, in particular – has been one of the safest bets almost all over the world, including Bangladesh and its capital city. Land prices have only gone up since the country gained independence. Before 1971, even the most populous city in Bangladesh was sparsely urbanized – teeing off the boundary of “urban Dhaka” around Gulshan. But not all the areas up north were fully urbanized back then. As a result, land prices were amazingly low during that time period. In 1974, the price of land per katha in Gulshan, Banani and Dhanmondi were just Tk25,000 – which was on the higher side of the scale, with land in Motijheel being the most expensive at Tk50,000 per katha.

Jump forward 15 years, and thousands turned into lakhs. The same land that was priced at around Tk25,000 back in 1974 was priced at around Tk6 lakh in 1989 – that is a 2,300% increase! This was also the time when the development of Uttara and Mirpur was properly underway. In the next few decades, these two areas played significant roles in the growth and development of the urban landscape of Dhaka. People who had the foresight to invest in land in those areas profited greatly as availability decreased in the central zones. People began moving northward and southward, hoping to find low-cost plots with great potential – which ultimately resulted in a way better than anyone could have expected. In terms of residence, areas such as Mohammadpur, Mirpur, Shantinagar, Moghbazar and Uttara have bloomed into some of the finest areas in the country with excellent living facilities. In the next 20 years, the real estate market grew to unbelievable heights. Land prices skyrocketed by unprecedented 5,000-8,000% rates in some places. Banani and Gulshan evolved into modern commercial hubs as Motijheel became packed. Almost all of the existing city areas today are filled to the brim with little hope of finding land available for purchase. However, that does not mean the thirst for land in people has quenched even the slightest.

For a while, the Bashundhara Residential Area was the focus of land buyers. Interested parties scooped up any and all the land plots they could find in the area and are still looking to invest there. However, most of the available lands in Bashundhara R/A today are located on the posterior blocks. People are now looking eastward, beyond Purbachal as there is hardly any scope to buy land in the Purbachal New Town project. Those lucky enough to be allotted land in the township understand the value it holds and are unwilling to sell it now. That is why the next best candidates for land buying lie in the surrounding lands of the township. But the prices there are also beginning to soar. The private development projects that are closest to the Purbachal New Town see the most demand. Investing in those areas is perceived as logical and profitable as the government plans to build up the entire region in the near future. As many of the city planners put it, Purbachal is going to be a “model’ in city development for the future generations – something the entire population of the country hopes it will be.

As more time passes, the appreciation for land will only go in one direction – up! The areas and land that seemed low-valued even during the previous generation are now on the verge of becoming proverbial gold mines. The scramble for land has never diminished and never will. People will always want land for a secure future, but its volume will not increase. As a result, this investment remains untouchable by loss.