LAHORE: Small houses, apartments and plots are in great demand in the city due to the financial crunch, property dealers have told Daily Times.

The sale of smaller houses and plots of three, five and seven marlas has increased sharply in the past four months, estate agents said. Due to the recession, people’s buying power has decreased, they said.

They said banks have increased the mark-up in their house-leasing schemes, which has encouraged people to opt for small houses or plots. The stakeholders also said investors and contractors prefer constructing small houses since it is easier to earn profit on these as compared to larger houses.

“Eight months back I used to finalise deals for houses and plots of 10 marlas or more, but now I have to rely on deals of less than 10 marlas,” said Malik Mukhtar, a property dealer. He said sales of and inquiries about smaller properties were at least 50 percent higher than those for larger ones. “We get six to eight inquiries for small houses and less than four for big houses,” he said, adding that contractors and builders are also inclined to purchase small plots to construct houses.

The prices of three and five marla plots vary according to the area and site. Another advantage of small houses is the shorter construction time involved.

Purchasing power: Mukhtar said construction giants were opting for smaller properties after considering the public’s purchasing power.

The prices of three-marla plots vary from Rs 1.2 million to Rs 1.8 million, while the construction cost of a three-bedroom house is between Rs 1 million and Rs 1.2 million. Thus, the total cost is Rs 2.2 million to Rs 3 million and the house can be sold easily for Rs 2.5 million to Rs 3.2 million, said Muhammad Wazir, a contractor. He said five-marla plots are available for Rs 1.6 million and Rs 2.5 million and the construction cost of a three-bedroom house is Rs 1.5 million to Rs 1.8 million and it is sold for Rs 3.5 to Rs 4.5 million. “I have been in the business for the last 12 years and saw a boom in the business, but for the past year the business is under pressure. However, small houses have provided us relief,” said Wazir. The price of a 10-marla or larger house varies between Rs 8 million and Rs 15 million, he said.

Investors’ preference: “In this economic and law and order situation, neither investors nor buyers are interested in spending a huge amount on property,” Wazir said.

Nadeem Chaudhry, senior sales manager at a construction company, said the company deals in seven, eight and nine-marla structures and fully-furnished houses and their bookings are high. “We get many inquiries for these categories as the prices of these houses are very attractive, compatible and fulfil the needs of the people,” Chaudhry said.

Muhammad Farrukh, senior client manager at another company, said the company understands people’s needs and their purchasing power and therefore has initiated two schemes of 3.5 and 5-marla houses. He said these schemes have been initiated near Defence and Ferozepur Road and there is high public interest.

Awais Qaiser, sales and marketing manager of another company, said it had decided to construct only residential apartments after considering people’s demand. “We are constructing a plaza in a major area of the city. This plaza is only for residential purposes and has one to three-bedroom apartments,” he said.

Source: Daily Times