Astronomical land prices, water scarcity and pollution in the city are forcing people to take the suburban route for a shelter
Real estate in Dhaka's inner city is too costly for most citizens. So large sections of aspiring house or apartment owners are moving towards the suburban pockets.
Enter any property fair in Dhaka. A league of small and medium scale builders and promoters that works and builds in the suburbs, catering to the middle class, is seen participating prominently.
Ask the builders and the answer is nearly the same every time. Any functionally useful apartment in the city costs Tk.2.5 million or more. And if one is looking for a comfortable 1200 or 1300 sq.ft flat in relatively posh area, the cost is an astronomical Tk.3,500 a sq. ft or more. And to think that most parts of the city have very little in terms of ground water, pollution free environment and a quite locale.
So for those who are conscious of their purse and credit limit, but still want a decent space to live in, the alternative is only moving to the suburbs.
Ashulia Model Town, Green Model Town, Bashundhara River View in both northern and southern fringes of the city look like boomtowns. Actually, the origins of this tale dwell in the early 90s when apartment living took roots in Dhaka.
And the sudden upsurge in the flat prices within the city in the past two-three years is forcing the residents to move away from the congested and water starved locations to relatively more peaceful and calmer atmospheres.
Why this boom? Is this sustainable? These questions demand an answer. Developers say flat promotion boom since the nineties has been good for the builders. This trend can be sustained for long as the prices of flats have already touched a peak.
Also, the fast-paced growth of businesses industries in suburban areas may force a reversal of the trend of people moving towards suburbs. The model towns name above have a very good market future as these have easy access to the city and water availability.
The ground water level at suburban areas may have dropped but are not that bad when compared to some of the areas in the city. The far flung area in the near future may see a spurt in real estate activities. And the rates differ when people prefer to stay away from railway stations.
Seeing the growth levels, even big players are going out of the city now. These townships have hundreds of apartments / houses each within a locality and they are self-contained for civic infrastructure.
A more comprehensive, integrated development, especially to provide for good living space and social infrastructure such as quality schools and entertainment spots is required to attract the upwardly mobile crowd to the suburbs. But before that, the land price regulation may quite be needed, developers say.