Real Estate Scenario In The COVID-19 Era

by M. Wasim

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic hit human life drastically, so all over the world extraordinary measures have been taken to arrest its spread. The social distancing, quarantine, lockdown, travel limitations, and network disturbances all led to suffering living values. More drastically businesses and economic activities came to halt due to a persistent state of inertia. As cities being partially locked down, the economy has ultimately slowed down, which created a situation of uncertainty — quite damaging for investment, development, and real estate.

The lockdowns have also shrunken the expected rate of return for housing and construction considerably. The development of new projects is delayed, allied construction industries like cement, steel, ceramics, and many others remained closed, normal human activities curtailed down and social distancing measures put a break on the potency of commercial premises to generate steady cash flows.

The real estate market in Pakistan was already facing uncertainty since 2018 with a change in policies related to strict taxation and documentation measures. That recession had never been ideal for constructors, realtors, and investors, however, the Coronavirus has now hit them even more starkly. Disinvestment still rules over the real estate sector as people prefer to keep cash in hand for unforeseen circumstances. That has led to (as assumed) a potential decline in property prices as much as 10% to 20% due to inactivity in markets. Major markets like Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore adversely hit because their major share of investments comes from overseas Pakistanis.

At that moment the ailing and crippled real estate sector required government support to bring it back on track. So the government passed an ordinance the Construction Relief Package 2020 in April, which has incentives for the construction and real estate sector, more importantly, financial relief in terms of tax exemption and subsidy for low-cost housing in the homeland. In practice, this Package allows and encourages many people to invest in real estate, help in creating employment, especially for daily wagers at this crucial time.

Bahria Town Karachi is the first developer who has taken this initiative as a responsibility and launched the first-ever and biggest low-cost scheme the Bahria Green with the aim of “a house for every Pakistani”. With that, the credibility and market of the Bahria further strengthened and overall property values here attained stability. At present, compared to other projects by private developers and semi-government housing authorities, the market position of the Bahria Town is head and shoulder above in terms of safety of investment, good return margin, and more importantly, a safe and affordable place to live in with luxury and style.

There are other reasons also for this stability. In the post-COVID-19 era, the preferences of people would surely not be living in dense and congested localities. Bahria Town Karachi is ideal in this regard for investment. Properly planned housing with open and sustainable spaces would be in high demand where residents could also perform their work from home.

The post-COVID-19 world would also be the age of digitalization for realtors. The proposals of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority and digitalization of properties are already in the offing to provide ease and consolidation to the real estate sector as well as ensuring the confidence and trust of investors and consumers to deal in real estate without any fear. Realtors who would succeed in digitizing their assets and services are likely to win the race.

This is why Homeland Enterprises is a key player on the realtors’ horizon specifically for the Bahria Town market. An integrated management system here, backed up by updated information and communication set-up has sizably boosted the company profile and credibility in a short span of time. Especially during the COVID-19 era, when social distancing has limited personal surveys and physical presence, customers’ obvious choice is the Homeland Enterprise to deal with and trust.

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