KARACHI: Stakeholders in the real estate sector offered different views over the impact of Supreme Court’s decision on sale and purchase of property in Bahria Town Karachi.

While some sources said that real estate prices in Bahria dropped by 10-20 per cent coupled with suspension in fresh deals between buyers and sellers, others believe that only old deals, on which buyers and sellers had committed prior to SC’s judgment, are still being finalised.

“There is anxiety among buyers, especially those who are yet to receive possession,” said Abdul Wahab Parekh. The owner of Parekh Estate at Clifton further claimed that majority of investors in Bahria Town belong to ‘upper-middle income group’ instead of big investors.

Plot and house prices have plunged by 15-20pc since Friday while fresh property transactions have almost come to a standstill, he added.

CEO Citi Associates and Senior Vice Chairman FPCCI’s Standing Committee on Real Estate Planning and Research, Muhammad Shafi Jakwani also shared similar sentiments.

“There is no seller or buyer of Bahria in the market right now as transactions are stagnant. However, the transfers were in process on Friday and Saturday and even it continued to Monday on those deals which had been signed 15-20 days back,” he said.

“Prices of plots and houses in Bahria have decreased by 10pc in the last three days,” he said while anticipating improvement in the long run.

He said the impact of Bahria on other real estate trading in the city has yet to materialise since the overall property market has been facing a slowdown after the announcement of budget 2018-19 coupled with growing environment of election. “Property market may continue its lacklustre run during Ramazan,” he added.

Owner of Nazimabad Estate at North Nazimabad, Zubair Rasheed also agreed that currently there were no buyers or sellers for any properties in Bahria Town after SC’s ruling and prices fell by 20pc in the last few days.

He claimed that most of the “investors in Bahria Town are big shots and not lower or middle class people.”

“The apex court should have checked Bahria’s activities and plans ahead of its launch,” he said.

Chairman Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD), Arif Yousuf Jeewa said, “Bahria Town is now undergoing a sort of audit and scrutiny whose prime beneficiary will be the buyers and sellers of this project in future.”

“People involved in Bahria Town sale and purchases are very worried. Some fear their capital will go down the drain in case any decision arrives resulting in closure of the project permanently,” he opined.

Currently buying and selling in the big project has stopped following reports of 20pc drop in land and house rates, he said.

Mr Jeewa was of the view that the costly project may be regularised after intervention of the Supreme Court and consumers would benefit in the long run.

Another estate agent in Clifton area said that “nobody is now willing to take risk in any sale and purchase in Bahria Town and only those deals are being matured on which both the parties had agreed under an agreement prior to SC’s decision.”

Some brokers, who asked not to be named, said buyers of Bahria property are unlikely to suffer as the apex court and NAB would deal with the owner of Bahria instead of touching the allotees.

“We do not think that public will suffer in the ongoing inquiry against the operators of Bahria Town,” they said.

‘All is well!’

Meanwhile, brokers dealing in Bahria Town have been sending WhatsApp messages to clients and potential customers, assuring them that everything is okay.

The following is the text of one such message that is being circulated:

“Bahria Town Karachi has conducted immense work and development on the land acquired from MDA, and has further allotted the same to public, hence there is without any doubt third party interest. Supreme Court has ONLY restricted Bahria to issue further commercial and residential plots and such an activity will be illegal.

However all presently allotted plots and villas may be traded and exchange of hands is permissible by the court. Supreme Court has widely appreciated the development work which has been conducted by Bahria Town and considering the fact that the issued plots and files are owned by third party hence there interest will be safe guarded. Bahria Town and the Board of Revenue will resolve the exchange of land and settle the price as per the market value.

The settlement will be reached within 3 months. Investors be advised that Bahria will operate in same manner as it has in the past and will deliver all existing/sold land and files. Development work will continue.

The judges also added that transactions between the Sindh government and Bahria Town could be made legal, but the stipulations on these transactions will be established by the SC’s special bench.”

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2018


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