Real estate sector: Need for regulatory authority and awareness

Zameen.com CEO says steps will help streamline foreign investment.


Shahram Haq July 28, 2014

LAHORE:


The real estate industry in Pakistan is considered to be one of the most attractive destinations for investors.


Latest indicators about investment trends in the sector suggest the need of a proper regulatory authority and some education initiatives, by both public and private sectors, to further divulge the benefits.

Industry experts, who are setting new trends in real estate via Information Technology (IT), have made it clear that these steps should be given utmost importance; else the sector will remain under control of non-professional agents in the future.

“Education, computerisation of land records and the formation of a regulatory authority are key steps to attract foreign investments in the real estate sector of Pakistan,” said Zameen.com Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Zeeshan Ali Khan in an interview with The Express Tribune. “As per reports, around $2 billion from foreign remittances are invested in this sector. If this market gets mature enough, this level might attract some direct foreign investments.”

Zameen.com is Pakistan’s first real estate portal, the management of which is trying to focus on the introduction of new trends in the area. They initiate the data compilation of properties all over Pakistan, mapping and training of real estate agents. But, according to Khan, they can do it in a limited manner and the real game changer will be the government, if they plan to introduce structure in the industry with authorities and maintenance of land records.

The CEO said that many agents are realising what IT can do to enhance their business. As time proceeds and 3G and 4G services hit ground, this trend will see its peak. Dealers start knowing the importance of such portals and online advertisements.

“This is the best time for private institutions to start some real estate diplomas and certifications as this practice is done in some countries where courses are offered to non-professionals”, said Khan. “We cannot go through fully educating 80% of the dealers market. What we can do is create specific courses to educate them, which we are already doing.”

He further said that formation of some authority will also force them to initiate some real estate-orientated courses for agents. With such a step, and the inclusion of land records being computerised, international investors will be given some assurance of fraud mitigation due to maintenance of records, he added.

“Investors need people in Pakistan who can converse in terminologies used in the modern world for real estate business,” said Khan. “Land record computerisation will also provide reliability of data, which will ease the process of investments.”

Khan also said that these steps can lead to the growth of mortgage industry, which is not offering sufficient requirements of the Pakistani market.

Khan believes in the real estate market and hopes for these developments in later years. He said that this market has attracted some big foreign companies to start their portals. For this reason, he has planned to expand zameen.com’s boundaries.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th,  2014.

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COMMENTS (3)

zameen | 6 years ago | Reply

Dear Critique,

The points you have mentioned in your analysis are the exact depiction of the real estate market and the challenges being faced by the industry yet alone us.

Since there is no quantified, qualified and verified data or properties available in the market, the real estate middle men will always have the option of throwing baits and attracting clients. The gist o's the writeup was focusing on how to eradicate these issued. We try to do our best but zameen.com is a private institution and cannot single handedly correct problems beyond its reach. Having said that we have educated thousands of agents to post quality stuff and employ rules and checks to ensure that the listing are of higher quality. We even photograph properties for our clients.

Regarding FDI, it's a critical factor in driving the economy. What we need is to make mortgage more affordable. FDI doesn't push the prices up alone, it's the cash based economy which is driving prices high. People don't sell actively when there is a crunch, rather they hold onto their properties and wait for a recovery. Hundreds of other factors including corruption dont help the cause either. As mentioned in the articles a regulatory body and computerised records can certainly help in bringing a better balance to the market.

Anyhow we will keep pushing for such reforms and we do welcome criticism but the need of the hour is unity so that we can address these problems at the govt level.

Kanoa Biondolillo | 6 years ago | Reply

Real estate business today is not the same as it was traditionally! Today competition as well as the demand for real estates gone to another level. So to stay and fight back one needs to understand the current status and methodologies of a real estate business. Along with that staying updated with the technology too helps in attracting clients.Baja123.com deals with luxurious real estates near Rosarito beach which is highly in demand nowadays. Visit http://www.baja123.com/ for more details.

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