A proper and well-maintained industry is imperative if the goal is to provide housing for all
Modern life is considered “fast-moving,” where every aspect can be accessed almost instantaneously and things change in the blink of an eye. However, even in this rapidly changing world, there is one aspect that is considered as being quite “static,” where change rarely takes place — real estate. But that is a perception that is no longer fully appropriate. From kings and zamindars to individual ownership, the concept of real estate proprietorship has evolved quite a lot throughout the centuries. People now have a better understanding, rights and access to real estate, and this has changed the entire concept. And the pace of this change is accelerating day by day.
In order to get some idea of the change that is taking place, a person only need to look at the type of property people desire the most nowadays. The previous generation grew up watching people who had estates. These were large patches of land with two or three-storey private buildings, big lawns and maybe even driveways. That is what people desired the most back in the day. But that soon became unfeasible and the focus went on to smaller pieces of lands or plots — which soon gave way to apartments.
Since the mid-2000s, there has been an abundance of apartments in the urban landscapes of Bangladesh, with the rural areas still somewhat holding onto the previous trend. This change is not due to a change in desire though. Rather, it is a change of necessity. Soaring prices and scarcity of land compelled people to look for alternatives. And lo and behold, apartments or flats rose up as that alternative, which allowed people to still fulfil their desire of owning a property without compromising their expected conveniences — and this was possible at a much lower cost than that of buying land and building a property on it. Whereas it is/was nearly impossible to find enough land without breaking the bank to building a home at city centres, apartments could be owned by spending a few lakh takas, not crores.
This dynamic march of real estate preference is still underway though. Apartments are still the more popular choice for real estate enthusiasts, but the type of apartments most prefer is changing now. Condominiums and bigger homes with better facilities are what people desire nowadays — even at high prices. The GDP is growing, home loan interest rate is dwindling, and buying and selling is becoming easier — all catalysts to this growing change in property demand.
Speaking of accessibility — perhaps it is one of the most influential factors in the housing industry today. This is a novel phenomenon, but a powerful one nonetheless. For most of its history, the process of real estate transaction has been much of the same — the interested party searches for a desirable property via known associates, try to verify the structural and legal integrity of the said property, goes into final negotiations once and if everything is in proper order. All of these have been a long, tedious and complex process, not to mention all the scopes for fraudulent activities the traditional approaches there tended to be. Continuous horrible experience with property buying and selling had put off many interested individuals from engaging in this sector. As a result, the immensely potential sector had started shrinking.