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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