Earthquake risk in Bangladesh: Facing the reality

19 09 2011

January 28th 2005 – A developer in Dhaka may claim that his building can withstand a Magnitude 8 (Richter scale) earthquake. This statement can be misleading, because in Dhaka we do not have to design our buildings for such large earthquake. The known earthquake sources that can produce large earthquakes are far away from Dhaka. In fact, earthquake resistant building design at a particular place is based on specified ground shaking (known as intensity) for that location and not on earthquake magnitude. It is important to understand the difference between these basic terms used for describing the strength and effect of earthquakes.

Full story: The Daily Star

Land Information

10 09 2011

Ministry of Land

Department of Land Record and Survey’s

Terratech Limited – bringing 10 of the top Software and ITES together under a single company to work towards a single goal of Automating the Land Record Management system in Bangladesh.

Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD) – Rights based independent National Policy Advocacy and Networking Organisation committed to the promotion and strengthening of land rights and agrarian reform.

Fine slapped on three realtors in Sylhet

10 04 2011

The Department of Environment yesterday fined three housing companies for filling up water bodies and cutting hills at Dakshin Surma, Fenchuganj Road and Tamabil Bypass.

A team led by Mohammad Munir Chowdhury, director (Monitoring and Enforcement) of the DoE, asked Ruposhi Bangla Housing at South Surma, Al-Baraka Housing on Tamabil Bypass and Royal City Housing at Lalmatia and Parairchak on Fenchuganj Road to stop their activities.

Full story: The Daily Star

Govt to ease property registration

7 05 2010

The government is trying to eliminate corruption from all organisations responsible for property transfers, and is modernising the land registration system, said the land minister yesterday.

These new steps are meant to help the country attract more investment and boost the economy, said Rezaul Karim Hira.

Full story: The Daily Star

Revision of land prices, registration fees likely

29 01 2010

The recently fixed land prices and registration fees are set to be reviewed as an official committee has recommended downward revision of the rates, official sources said.

Full story: The Financial Express

Money-whitening scope pushes flat sales up

31 07 2009

Apartment sales have soared around 15 percent in the first month of the new financial year, as the government announced that buyer’s source of income would not be questioned under black money whitening scope.

Housing sector people say the scenario was reverse during January-March of 2009. The realtors blamed the ongoing global recession fallout for about 30 percent drop in sales at that time.

“The sector has overcome that bad time in July and now it enjoys around 15 percent growth in terms of sales,” said Tanveerul Haque Probal, president of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB). “The scope of money whitening is one of the reasons.”

Had the National Board of Revenue (NBR) already issued the SRO (statutory regulatory order), such responses would have been much more.

The 2009-10 budget has allowed whitening black money through investing in more than 64 sectors, including housing.

Any person can legalise his or her black money by purchasing a single flat after paying a certain amount of tax fixed for per square feet. However this tax varies in line with the apartment location.

In a recent meeting with the finance minister, the industry insiders pointed to the sales growth.

“Definitely, it happens because of the money whitening scope,” said Mohammad Abdul Awal, managing director of the Structural Engineers Ltd (SEL), a leading developer.

SEL has ongoing projects at Gulshan, Mohammadpur, Uttara, Mirpur, Indira Road, Malibagh and Shyamoli in Dhaka. Its project outside the capital is in Comilla. Earlier, apartment sales in city’s posh areas dropped significantly in the first three months of the year.

Awal, a former president of REHAB, said customers queries are now coming from all parts of the city. “The queries are aplenty,” the SEL boss said.

An anti-graft drive during the caretaker government rule, which bound the intending buyers of flats to show their sources of incomes, pushed the sales down to over 40 percent.

Sayed Ismail Ali, managing director of Multiplan Development Ltd, who runs 13 housing projects in Dhaka, said customers’ interests in buying apartments have doubled this month.

As many as 500 developers construct around 7000 flats every year on an average. The usual monthly sales hover around 600, but the March sales came down to 180. In the changed scenario, demand for apartments in July jumped to more than 800, according to the sectoral trade body.

Although sales go up, apartment price is yet to come down, rather in some cases it soared. The present prices range from Tk 8,000 to Tk 15,000 per square foot in posh areas, while the rates are between Tk 4,000 and Tk 5,000 in other areas.

The housing sector has contributed nearly 7.35 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the financial year 2009. Some 2.0 million skilled and non-skilled persons are directly and indirectly involved in the sector. (31/7/09)