With Spanish and Portuguese architectural designs, imported electrical and sanitary fittings, ironmongery for doors and design-fitted kitchens, Alma Townhomes offer dream homes for those wanting to invest in real estate.
The second phase of the housing project, that was opened for buyers by international real estate developer Emaar on Saturday, saw a large number of potential home owners from twin cities showing up. The two-day event is being held at a sales centre inside Emaar’s 400-acre gated community — Canyon Views.
Situated on the Islamabad Highway near the Grand Trunk Road (DHA Phase-II Extension), the Alma houses target a major segment in the housing market - end users who are looking for an “affordable” house in a safe and sustainable community, according to Emaar Pakistan Head of Development and Projects Shairyar Salim. The company has completed the first phase, which is fully occupied.
The earthquake-resistant housing units, which occupy eight to 12 marlas and have three to four bedrooms, start with a price of Rs14 million, which is slightly high compared to Bahria Town’s Safari Villas and Defence Housing Authority (DHA). A 10-marla house Safari Villas and DHA cost Rs12 million and Rs11.5 million on average respectively, according to a Rawalpindi-based real estate agent Waseem Kiyani.
He said that a ready-made house on 10 marlas in Bahria Enclave can cost around Rs15 million with a one-year payment plan.
Facilities at these housing projects seem comparable, although Salim believes Emaar’s designs are more “advanced”, as they draw on the developer’s experience of making international housing projects.
The Alma Townhomes might also have a superior security apparatus. The integrated community has a three-tier security plan which includes two outer boundary walls and a security patrol on the streets.
“With Emaar, you’re confident that your money will not go down the drain,” said Asif Akhtar, a resident of the Alma Townhomes Phase-I who works for the Army Welfare Trust.
“They deliver on their promises, and their quality of construction and services are simply amazing,” he added.
The houses will be made available under a two-year payment plan and the construction is expected to be completed within that time frame, said Emaar Pakistan Head of Sales and Marketing Uzair Adil.
According to Salim, houses in Phase-I were quick to sell out and a similar response is expected from the second phase. The new community will also have access to facilities that were constructed for the first phase, such as a school and markets.
“The advantage of Phase-II is that the infrastructure is already present and the roads are almost complete,” he added.
Salim went on to explain that the houses will be built in groups of 50 to 60 units, with each group having a park, play area and BBQ area. Plans to build a hospital, shopping malls, community club houses and mosques are also underway.
Shaukat Zia, a civil engineer from Rawalpindi, who was present at the launch with his family, seemed quite impressed after being briefed about the project.
However, he was concerned about the investment, saying that a house in the townhomes seemed only feasible for the elite.
Salim said Emaar is looking to sell around 150 units in the first batch, which is approximately one-third of the total units.
Emaar Pakistan has invested over $2.4 billion in the country since 2007, according to information available on its website.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2012.
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