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Real estate boom in Gwadar

April 09, 2007

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WITH the handing over of operating rights of the Gwadar port to the Singaporean firm and its inauguration on March 20, the land prices in Gwadar have increased manifold.

Today, property deals in Gwadar are a lucrative investment. The prices of residential, commercial and industrial plots are going up. There is a real estate boom and businessmen from all over the country and abroad are showing interest in the area. In this city areas, such as Zero Point, West Bay, East Bay, Sangar Housing Scheme, Newtown Housing Scheme, Chib Kalmati, Kiya Kalat, Washin Door, Door Ghatti, Ziarat Machi, Jaurkan, Shanikani Dar, Ankara, Karwat, Shabi, Pishukan, main Jewani Road, main Airport Road and main coastal highway, have become the focus of real estate investors and brokers who seem active in buying and selling commercial and residential plots from one acre to 1000 acres.

The Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) has reportedly so far issued No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to 60 private housing societies. The rich investors are being lured into buying industrial and residential plots in and around Gwadar on payment under different packages.

Before the port inauguration, there was a dip in property prices in the city. This was mainly linked with the fears about security of investment. Moreover, a land scam also came to surface making people reluctant to invest in residential, commercial and industrial plots here. This trend affected the prices of real estate as people who had purchased residential or commercial plots started selling them to avoid further losses.

The situation has reversed after Islamabad signed an agreement with the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) for operating the Gwadar Port. Moreover, the government’s announcement of setting up a large industrial estate, a free-trade zone and other projects, including oil terminals and refineries, attracted investors again to invest in Gwadar real estate. The provincial government has allotted plots in the Gwadar Industrial Zone for construction of warehouses to facilitate importers and exporters.

More than 50 private housing and commercial schemes are currently selling plots in the new port city. The prices of real estate have gone up by 100 per cent. A residential plot of 1,000 yard in Gwadar’s Sangar housing scheme was available at Rs1 million in January but today its price has doubled to Rs2 million. It is speculated that the price nay go up further.

The government has planned to spend $7 billion in the next eight years to improve the road-infrastructure for which a network would be ready by 2014 to link China and South Asian republics through Gwadar. It has also been planned to set up a civic centre in Gwadar that would be completed by August 2008. The port project aims at accommodating facilities that will help develop Gwadar as an industrial city-- privately- owned warehouses and cold storage, private cargo-handling equipment, truck yards, and corporate infrastructure such as offices along the same lines as Jebel Ali, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

The housing schemes and high-rise construction on commercial plots have been planned like those in Dubai, meeting the international standards. The government also plans to establish hotels, motels, playground, boating clubs, theme parks, Marino and other recreation projects in this city. The future port city will be connected to the whole of the country through land, sea and air links. Ware housing, buildings, commercial plots, support services and other facilities have also been planned to promote industrial activity in the port city.

The Balochistan government has directed officials concerned to hand over industrial plots to allottees in Gwadar special industrial zone. With the functioning of industrial zone, Gwadar would become a hub of industrial and trade activities. The government has also reserved 3000 acres for the development of Gwadar Industrial Estate (GIE) to meet the demand of industrial plots and to cope with the needs of industrialisation in the port city.

Located at Karwat on the Mekran coastal highway, about 40 km from Gwadar, the Gwadar Industrial Estate (GIE) is the first industrial estate of the emerging port city and the biggest in Balochistan. Over 1,100 plots have been allotted to industrialists in the estate. The GIE will meet the demand of industrial plots and cope with the needs of industrialisation in this port city. About 3000 acres have been reserved for the purpose.

Major groups belonging to Karachi and Punjab are engaged in real estate and construction business in Gwadar. The business groups from Balochistan and other local investors especially those affluent and feudal figures should also come forward, purchase land for housing schemes and industrial estates in Gwadar and announce special package for the local buyers.

Contrary to this, local landlords are set to benefit from the opportunity and are keen to sell their property on desirable cost to interested builders and developers, who are presently active in launching new housing projects. In fact, these landlords of the area are the natural and primary beneficiary of the Gwadar port project. The value of their land has skyrocketed after operation of Gwadar port making them millionaires overnight.

Political instability and unsatisfactory law and order situation have been hampering the real estate business in the province as a whole. The incidents of sabotage like bomb blasts, rocket attacks and attacks on national installations like rail tracks, gas pipelines and power grid stations have also restricted the investment in the property business.

There are so many unanswered questions and unsettled matters of socio-political nature but real estate investment is picking up. Speculative trade in real estate is booming., at least for the time being.