Syed Nasir Hossain : Tahmina is an officer of a private organization. Lives with two children in Gopi Bagh area of the capital. He had been saving money little by little for a long time to cover the cost of his children’s education. He expressed his interest in buying a flat with the money received from the savings certificate and the money brought from the sale of land from the village. Even after contacting various companies for several months, he could not find a small flat.
Tahmina told, ‘Everyone wants to eliminate the housing problem. Because in city life most of the income goes towards housing rent. I thought I would get a small flat within Tk 50 lakhs with the saved money. But there are no flats below Tk 80 lakhs. And big flats are over crores of rupees. If you buy a flat with down payment, you can’t educate your children again. So, for now I am not seeing that dream anymore.
Retired officer Mizanur Rahman said the same thing. He told, “I made a garden in the village with half the money of my retirement. The wish was that there would be a place for the head in the city. But I need Tk 50 lakhs and Tk 75 to Tk 80 lakhs to buy a flat. There is a registration fee, other expenses will also be incurred. By increasing the price, my desire for a flat remained.
Housing traders are also admitting the increase in flat prices. They said that the cost of a small flat is Tk 70 to Tk 75 lakh due to the increase in the price of construction materials. Large or medium-sized flats cost more. In this situation, the seller cannot sell at a loss even if he wants to.
In this regard, the managing director of ISO Holdings, Kamal Mahmud told, “Now flat sales are low, small-medium sales have fallen by half. Many companies invest in losses due to lack of sales. Not being able to sell at a low price, the companies will sit on the road. However, the sale of large flats has increased slightly, which is also not as expected. If the cost of construction materials is high, it is possible to build flats at low cost even for middle income people.
Rehab sources, an association of housing traders, say that around 15,000 flats are sold in the country every year. In FY 2021-22 where flat-apartments were sold 15 thousand. Around 10,000 were sold during the entire fiscal year 2022-23. About 5,000 flats are unsold in that financial year. The sales drought has not broken even in the current (2023-24) financial year. The crisis may intensify in the future. If this happens, the housing sector will go beyond the affordability of middle-class families. Although traders expect high inflation to subside, the crisis will pass quickly. It will reduce the cost of construction materials. If this happens then again, the buyer will get a flat-apartment at a low price.
In this regard, the former vice-president of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) Liaquat Ali Bhuiyan told, “No businessman can buy flat-apartment at a low price by buying rod-cement at a high price. Therefore, the price of construction materials should be reduced first. If this is the case, all types of buyers can buy flats. But now due to global high inflation, the purchasing power of common people has reduced.
Increase in price of construction materials
In just two and a half years, the price of rods has increased by 35,000 rupees per ton. In 2020, the cost of buying a ton of rods was Tk 64 thousand, in 2021 it was Tk 70 thousand. The next year i.e. 2022 is Tk 94 thousand. In 2023, the record average will exceed one lakh rupees per ton. The prices of cement, sand, stone, brick, grill and railing have gone up. Labor costs also increase.
Retailers in different areas of the capital said that the price has increased by Tk 4 to Tk 8 thousand depending on the company and the quality of the rod. Before the election, the rod was available at Tk 85 thousand per ton, now it is Tk 90 thousand. A ton of Tk 90,000 rods is now being sold at Tk 95,000 to Tk 96,000. The Tk 94 thousand rod is now back to lakh taka or close to it.
Just like rod-cement, the price of sand, stone, grill, railings and labor costs also differed before and after the elections. Sellers say that LC stone is now being sold at Tk 215 per foot after the election, which increased by Tk 10 to Tk 15. Piling stones are being sold up to Tk 190 with an increase of Tk 15 to Tk 20. With an increase of Tk 10 to Tk 15, red sand is being sold at Tk 55 to Tk 60 per CFT, with an increase of Tk 5 to Tk 10, white sand is being sold at Tk 20 to Tk 30 and white local sand is being sold at Tk 17. The price of filled sand has also increased. The price has increased by about Tk 2 and now Tk 12 CFT is being sold.
Additional brick price. Now each number one brick is being sold at Tk 13 thousand, a month ago it was sold at Tk 11 to Tk 12 thousand. Number two (according to quality) brick Tk 10 to Tk 11 thousand. The price of food has also increased. Each CFT Khoya is being sold at Tk 100 to Tk 105, while old brick Khoya is being sold at Tk 66.
Aminul Islam, owner of Allah Dan Traders told, “Generally, the construction season starts in November. Meanwhile, the price of construction materials increased slightly. Moreover, the cost of raw material rods increases, which has an impact on others.
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