Pakistan Housing Expo to 1ST REIT Subscription; Infocus Weekly Briefs

by M. Wasim

11 December 2022

Pakistan 1st Housing Expo kicks off

Pakistan 1st International Housing EXPO 22 kicked off this week organized by the Ministry of Housing & Works in collaboration with Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The event was held at Jinnah Convention Centre, Islamabad from 8th- 11th December. It is a public private partnership wherein ICCI is the lead collaborator. To promote the real estate business and ensure safe housing for the people and to encourage the approved housing projects and uplift the construction sector in the country. The initiative will augment the growth of housing sector in Pakistan and will help contribute in the growth of economic development in broader terms. Everyone has a fundamental right to housing, which ensures access to a safe, secure, habitable and affordable home and to achieve this objective ministry of housing and works intends to organize this event.

Various panel discussions were held on the sidelines of the EXPO where panelists gave useful proposals to promote low cost housing in Pakistan and said that the government should consider setting up a Housing Bank to promote low cost housing for low income segments. The visiting guests took great interest in the products and projects displayed in the EXPO and highly appreciated the Ministry of Housing & Works and ICCI for organizing such a wonderful EXPO.

1ST REIT Subscription of Public Shares in Market

Javedan Corporation is the first firm bringing its shares in Pakistan`s first developmental Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). The general public will be able to buy shares on Dec 14 and 15 ahead of its upcoming listing on the Pakistan Stock Exchange. Javedan Corporation is selling 10% `units` a formal term used for shares in the case of REITs in Globe Residency REIT, a wholly owned subsidiary, to ordinary investors at Rs10 apiece. The project is based on a close-ended scheme with a life of 48 months. Proceeds will help the company build Globe Residency, an apartment project of 1,344 residential units in Naya Nazimabad located on the outskirts of Karachi. While the general public is expected to buy 10% shareholding in the REIT, shareholders of parent firm Javedan Corporation will subscribe to 85% units at the same price. Real estate consultants will buy the remaining 5% shareholding, according to Javedan Corporation.

REITs are investment schemes that collect money from investors and deploy it in real estate projects. They must list on the stock exchange within three years of inception a feature designed to let small investors take exposure to an otherwise capital-intensive and illiquid real estate market. REITs operate like any other company but offer a higher degree of transparency to investors because trustees not developers control all assets. After the first REIT-based transaction that securitised and sold Dolmen Mall Clifton and the adjoining Harbour Front building for Rs22.2bn in 2015, the REIT sector remained dormant for nearly six years.

Protest against Ravi Riverfront Development Authority

The controversy of Ravi Riverfront Urban Development project surrounded contineously this week when farmers staged protest demonstrations and took out a rally in the Ravi project area after a joint team of the Ravi Urban Development Authority (Ruda), revenue department and police reached there to get possession of the land `acquired` by the government for the Ravi project. The protesters, including women and children gathered in groups at their respective villages and raised slogans against the authority and later burnt used tyres and blocked the highway against what they called forcible land acquisition through fake mutations by the government department. The farmers term the Ruda action unlawful given the stay orders issued already by the courts. They also urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to intervene to resolve the issue.

Ravi Riverfront Urban Project; a Greed of Land Developers

However, a Ruda spokesman rejected the farmers` claim, stating the land had been acquired by the authority after completing the procedures under the Land Acquisition Act and was being retrieved lawfully. He alleged that these farmers have ulterior motives and they wanted to make the project controversial. Meanwhile a Ruda press release claims the authority has paid full price of the project land to the farmers. It says the Punjab Board of Revenue got the state land in the name of Ruda after paying its price.

Revising the Islamabad Master Plan

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has sent a summery to the federal government for formation of a new commission to revise the master plan of Islamabad and decided to bring improvements to the building control regulations 2020. A seven-member committee headed by the director general design has been working to finalise the changes. CDA officials said the building control regulations needed to be reviewed as it had several missing links. However, the commission after finalising these regulations and preparing an interim report left the revision of the master plan to an international consultant, who is yet to be hired.

A member planning of the committee said that before finalising the proposals the committee will take all stakeholders on board and the regulations would be made available on CDA`s website to help people particularly overseas Pakistanis to know the regulations and bylaws before purchasing plots. It is important to note here that the bylaws were finalised by a commission formed by former prime minister Imran Khan in December 2018 for revision of Islamabad`s master plan. The PTI government was the third in the country`s history that tried to revise the capital`s master plan but could not get it completed during its three and half years tenure.

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