ISLAMABAD, Jan 5: As more people from the adjoining areas of Rawalpindi and Islamabad relocate to the twin cities, rates of rental properties continue to rise.

Property dealers however claim that it is a winter phenomenon and prices will go down in summer.

Even sectors like I-9 and I-10 and adjoining rural areas are charging exorbitant rates. On an average rent of a five-marla single portion was Rs15,000 before winter and now has gone up to Rs18,000.

Rent of a 10-marla portion in I-series has increased from Rs35,000 to Rs50,000.

In developed sectors, landlords rent out properties only to foreigners, and in newspaper ads even inform the potential tenant that the rent would be in foreign currency.

The capital faces a shortage of around 75,000 housing units. Comparatively, rates are less in Rawalpindi but still continue to increase.

Rents have surged from Rs12,000 to Rs15,000 for five-marla houses in the garrison city. Rents of flats have also gone up from Rs10,000 to Rs12,000.

“Unfortunately, rents in both cities is not according to the size or quality of the building, but according to the desire of the property dealers who manipulate prices,” complained Arsalan Chaudhry, a government servant living in Rawalpindi.

In the absence of any law to control rents, property dealers and landlords continue to exploit tenants.

Besides high rents, tenants also have to pay two-month rent in advance and a security deposit to the landlord.

According to Murtaza Javed, a property dealer in sector G-9, the demand for housing has increased with the onset of winter, causing an influx of people from Murree, AJK and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said property dealers earn maximum revenue in this season as in summer, the demand goes down.

Another problem is that houses in elite sectors of Islamabad and Rawalpindi are unaffordable for the middle class. Majority of job holders prefer to live either in flats or portions in suburban areas.

According to a CDA official, rents would decrease once the authority develops new residential sectors.

He said the CDA was in the process of acquiring land in C-15 and C-16 sectors, besides striving to develop already launched sectors in I-15. —APP

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