After a rough few months for the economy in general, and to a large extent the real estate sector in particular, things are finally starting to pick up as the last quarter of the year rolls around. The anti-government sit-ins in Islamabad have been reduced to half their strength and it seems like market activity will return to normal sooner rather than later.
While this has largely been the case in Islamabad and Karachi, the latest terrorist incident on the outskirts of Lahore – a suicide attack in the midst of a packed ceremony at the Wahga Border that claimed dozens of lives – seems to have left the whole city in shock, and its markets are no exception. This has led to a bit of a mixed picture, where Islamabad and Karachi are generally doing well – all things considered, of course – and Lahore is suffering.
Lahore’s market has generally been slow to rebound from the period of stagnancy that has prevailed since the start of the second half of the year. With the exception of Lahore Cantonment (Cantt) – which had a less-than-impressive Q3 but bounced back in fine fashion at the start of Q4 with a 9.67% rise in average prices of land – most of the popular localities in the city suffered drops in prices.
This trend is expected to remain the same in coming days because at a time when security concerns in Lahore have been heightened, highly secure residential areas such as Lahore Cantt are likely going to experience increased demand.
Islamabad’s property market, meanwhile, seems to be on the mend. However, caution must be exercised for at least a little while longer because the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf has made a nationwide call for its supporters to gather in Islamabad on November 30. This may result in reduced activity in the short term.
In Karachi, investment activity seems to be in full swing. Investors have pumped capital back into the market, which has resulted in a focus shift to under-development investment opportunities such as DHA City Karachi and Bahria Town Karachi, where prices have also gone up.
All in all, the start to the final quarter of 2014 looks to be a promising one. There have been certain red flags – for Lahore in particular – but there are also indications that a strong finish to the year may be imminent.
“The fact that investors are starting to pour their capital back into under-development investment opportunities such as DHA City Karachi and Bahria Town Karachi is heartening,” says Zeeshan Ali Khan, the CEO of Zameen.com.
“This tells us that investor confidence, which was badly shaken by political unrest and security concerns, is now being restored. It is up to the developers now to deliver on their promises in order to make the most of this opportunity,” he adds.