The piece of land that costs Tk3 lakh per katha in 2018 now costs Tk10 lakh, and there is no end in sight to the increasing growth
We desire a safe and secure future, for us and our loved ones. It is almost a universal phenomenon. To that end, we work hard, make ends meet and try our best to acquire a property — a home of our own. The presence of our own home frees us from the encumbering bond of having to pay rent and to live under the roof of another. And there can be no denying that the best course of action to own a home is to build it or have it built on your very own land.
Yes! Land is an immensely valuable asset and the best option to have a home. It has the power to be the very foundation upon which your future can be built. Most people know and understand this as well, which is why there is always a rush to buy land among those who can afford it. Surprisingly though, even with the immense price increase of land over the years, buyers today can still find land suitable for almost any budget in land projects, located mostly on the outskirts of the capital. However, it is the latter part of the sentence that evokes a momentary pause for many would-be land buyers. They feel that investing in a more “established” location for land is the better way to go. In reality, though, there are arguments to be made for both sides.
Price and affordability
The first thing that draws so many people to invest in land projects is their affordability. Most of the recent, or relatively recent, land projects are much more affordable than say buying a three katha land in Dhanmondi, Mirpur or even the recently developed Bosila. In most cases, each katha of land in and near the central metropolitan area of Dhaka would be anywhere from Tk1 crore to a few crores — Tk5 crores in some cases. Even in the most affordable locations around the central zone, each katha of land would be Tk60-80 lakh, and you should ideally have at least three katha of land to build the home you want as a katha generally translates to 720 square feet of space.
On the other hand, plots in land projects can start from just a few lakh taka, especially in the projects located near the upcoming Purbachal New Town project. Most of the recent concentration for such projects — about 19 major real estate development projects — has been around that location as the government housing project grows ever nearer to completion. Projects such as the Purbachal American City and Purbachal Marine City are closest to the township initiative, yet, they are well within the reach of middle-income buyers. For example, a three katha plot in Bproperty Village costs only about Tk30 lakh, whereas, the same amount of money might not be enough to buy even a single katha of land anywhere in the central zone of Dhaka.
Another big problem with trying to buy land in central areas or buying an individual plot in non-land projects is scarcity — a factor that also greatly impacts its pricing. There are only a handful of plots available for sale that can be found in the central area of the capital city. It is very hard to come by commodity and many people tend to be after them. A lot of the available individual plots also tend to be located on the edge of the city, in places such as Matikata, Bosila, Nandipara, Demra, and such. Still, the high-demand and low-availability make their prices sky-high.
On the other hand, land development projects tend to have scores of plots available for purchase. Even the highly popular Bashundhara Residential Area has extended their project, all the across the Balu River, to accommodate the growing demand of the populous. As a result, even if there is a scarcity of plots in the anterior section of Bashundhara Residential Area, there is an abundance of land to buy in the extensions. Similarly, finding a plot to purchase in the Purbachal New Town project is like finding gold — rare and valuable — but the nearby projects still have a lot to offer to those looking to find a place to start a home.
One of the things going against plots in land projects is immediate consumption. By consumption here we mean making use of the land, i.e. constructing a home. While many real estate development projects tout the fact that they are “construction ready,” the reality is not always so. In many cases, the land they are offering may be construction ready — filled and strong enough to support multi-story structures — the area itself might not have the necessary infrastructure or utility. There are still many places that have rapidly progressing land development ongoing without the proper infrastructure to support a growing community. Only a few projects such as Purbachal American City have utilities ready for use if a plot owner chooses to start building immediately. However, it is not always a deal-breaker in the sense that these places will have everything they are promising, albeit a little down the road.
On the contrary, individual plots amidst the city centre will tend to have everything required for immediate construction and living. Roads, schools, utilities — these places have had the necessary infrastructure in place for years, which makes them ideal for those who are looking to immediately start utilizing their purchase to its fullest extent. While the government is prohibiting adding a new gas connection to newly constructed buildings, if the plot in question already has a gas connection to its name then the buyer can enjoy this hard-to-come-by utility connection as well.
One of the most common complaints among residents of Dhaka city is how unorganized and unplanned it is. Except for a few places, most of the areas in the central zone have a distinct dishevelled feel to it. The roads are narrow, buildings almost leaning into each other and, of course, footpaths are occupied by street vendors. These things, and more, hamper what otherwise could have been a serene and wonderful living opportunity. The closest this city has been able to achieve a harmonious and planned neighbourhood is Uttara and Bashundhara R/A, which is near perfect in terms of achieving the goals of a residential area.
The same can be replicated, or at least, has the power to, in land development projects where every inch is meticulously planned. Bashundhara R/A itself has proved that it is possible — it is, after all, the product of a private land development project. The recent land projects have been trying to imbue the same philosophy — deliver a planned and organized living opportunity to their residents. And so far, the framework for places like the Purbachal Marine City is there. The blueprints show how the neighbourhood is going to lay out and its residents can maximize their future housing options.
Return on investment or ROI is a major criterion for investment. How much value would an investment yield in comparison to the invested amount is a primary concern. If the expected ROI is not in the positives then moving forward with any investment decision is fruitless. However, determining the ROI of land investment can be a bit difficult since such investment is not always made to receive monetary or numeric value, rather, it is oftentimes qualitative in nature. People invest in land to build a home, to build a future. In that sense, determining the ROI is subjective.
Nonetheless, even from a purely qualitative perspective, it can be said that both investing in individual land and investing in land projects have a high probability of great ROI as both options tend to provide what they are meant to — an opportunity to make a home. Of course, unless there are complications with the land in terms of legality. Even if the land is handed over five or 10 years down the line, a person or their generations to come can still enjoy that investment. However, in regards to a purely investment perspective, it might be wise to invest in land development projects rather than an individual land in isolation, even if it is located in the city centre. That is because, while both types of land are seeing their value increase, it is the plots in land projects that are growing in price exponentially. The piece of land that costs Tk3 lakh per katha in 2018 now costs Tk10 lakh, and there is no end in sight to the increasing growth. As a result, an investor would get a bigger return by investing in such a project’s land.
However, it can easily be said that when it comes to investments, you can never go wrong with land. Be it today, tomorrow or the day after, the return on land would be at least ten folds. But as mentioned earlier, land is so much more than an investment, it is a dream, a foundation and life. And given the constant increase of land prices, as well as availability, people are looking to invest in land development projects as a way to secure their future and the future of the generations that will come after.
This article is being published under special arrangement as part of a partnership with Bproperty