REITs to help draw investment

KARACHI: Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) would help broaden investment in Pakistan from local and Gulf-based investors and promote the country as a growth market, said Chairman of the AKD Group, Aqeel Karim Dhedhi. “It is expected to be launched soon,” he added.

Pakistan’s current real estate development was limited and lacked transparency, he said. Real estate market was plagued by a number of problems, which deterred an average Pakistani from investing. Lack of transparency in title verification, difficulty in accessing and comprehending land records, prolonged litigation on property matters, delays in project completion and interruptions in delivery of services kept investment at bay.It was expected that REITs would take care of these issues to a large extent.

“REITs will formalise the real estate sector and allow the general public to participate. It will also allow foreign investors to come to Pakistan knowing that the investment will be closely regulated,” said Dhedhi.

REIT is a developed product internationally and most of the real estate projects are funded through REITs. Among other things, REITs invest in shopping malls, office buildings, apartments, warehouses and hotels in one specific region, state or country. Investing in REITs is a liquid, dividend-paying means of participating in the real estate market.

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Govt houses Monetisation doesn’t go well with CDA

ISLAMABAD, Dec 3: The Planning Commission’s dream of monetising sectors G-6 and F-6 by building skyscrapers is being given a reality check by the unenthusiastic and cash-strapped civic authority.

Unimpressed by the lofty dreams of the Planning Commission, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has warned the federal government that it cannot deal with the increase in demand of civic services if high-rises are built in the city.

In a meeting held at the Planning Commission in the last week of November, the CDA told members of the meeting that demand of every civic utility and amenity would go up.

The CDA is already facing serious financial crisis and has no money to build the required sewage and infrastructure to provide disposal, water, electricity and gas to thousands of new residents of future high-rise buildings, Dawn has learnt.

The meeting was headed by deputy chairman Planning Commission Dr Nadeemul Haq and attended by Housing Secretary Kamran Lashari and Chairman CDA Syed Tahir Shahbaz.

It is pertinent to mention that the civic agency’s urban planning wing has drafted blueprints to construct skyscrapers in sectors G-6 and F-6 on land that currently has 2,251 government residential units.

The skyscraper project would be part of the Planning Commission’s ‘New Framework for Economic Growth’, and would have apartment buildings and commercial plazas as well as new public sector buildings.

The plan proposes a special zone over an area of 371 acres of mixed use with high-rise development on the lines of that in Hong Kong.

The monetisation of housing units of federal government lands had been approved in April, and a complete revision of existing planning parameters, rezoning and land re-classification had been expected.

“Sir, we need additional water resources, increased electricity, and almost every civic service would need an upgrade if we go with the vertical expansion of the city,” a senior federal official who was present in the meeting quoted a CDA official as saying during the presentation at the Planning Commission.

“At the moment, the city has one nine-inch diameter pipe to drain sewage for every 1,000 people in a sector. We would have to lay new sewage lines to meet the needs for 10,000 people living in the same area after the vertical expansion of the city,” commented a Planning Commission official on the request of anonymity. Continue reading

LDA seals 22 properties

LAHORE – Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Commercialisation Directorate staff sealed a total of 22 properties at various places in Johar Town and Gulberg, on Monday.

These properties had been sealed on accountant of their failure in depositing commercialisation fee worth millions, despite issuance of challan forms for this purpose and repeated notices for making the due payments. The 12 buildings that had been sealed in Johar Town included private schools, workshops and other commercial buildings.

situated along Moulana Shoukat Ali Road, Nursery Road and Expo Centre Road.

The 10 sealed buildings of Gulberg included a restaurant, private schools and private offices.

Lahore Development Authority will continue its campaign against defaulters of commercialization fee in all the housing schemes of LDA. Continue reading

No let-up in CDA plots selling spree

ISLAMABAD – Gone are the days when the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) land was taken by the city managers as ‘ornaments’ of the authority and everyone knows in traditional Indian subcontinent sale of ornaments to make both ends meet is conceived as bad omen.

But what one can do with the fast changing ‘traditions’ of the federal capital’s civic body that is left – in the absence of comprehensive funds generation strategy – with no other option but to sale its ‘ornaments’ to run Authority’s day to day affairs.

And this time, in real terms, the Authority is going to organise a ‘grand’ auction of industrial, commercial, residential and other plots. During two-day auction scheduled for December 18 and December 19, the Authority has planned to present a total of 30 plots for auction.

It is also a common practice that authorities usually take unpopular decisions – those are hard to swallow for many – as last resort with a heavy heart and expressing their regret for the future adverse impacts of such decisions.

But in CDA’s case, it is otherwise. “Since Authority’s creation, we have been selling land and I see no harm in it. The territorial limits of Islamabad are expanding fast. Although we are selling, yet at the same time we are creating more plots for further generation of funds,” Chairman CDA Syed Tahir Shahbaz proudly claimed during an informal conversation last Saturday.

However, he said, the Authority would also devise strategies to shore up its income from other sources.

Eleven commercial, 9 residential, three industrial, four automobile workshops, one agro-farm, and one plot each meant for construction of a wedding hall and a filling station would be auctioned during two consecutive days.

The Authority is also going to auction CDA’s Community Centre located at Street 9, I-10/3. This plot will be auctioned under the category of industrial plot.

Commercial plots including plot numbers 328, 331, 373, 376 and 395 located in Sector I-10/4, plot nos. 1-D & 1-E in Sector F-10/2, plot no. 40-E in Sector G-9 Markaz, plot no 25-C located in Sector G-10 Markaz, plot No. 6 at Blue Area F-8/G-8, and plot No. B-2 in Blue Area F-9/G-9 will be presented for auction. Continue reading