ISLAMABAD  – With the onset of people from hilly areas consequent to sever cold and heavy snowfall there, the house rent in twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have gone all time high.

Despite the fact that Islamabad and Rawalpindi have always been expensive as far as housing rentals are concerned, but the people from hilly areas prefer to rent the accommodations here in winter to save them from cold. Even the less developed sectors of Islamabad including I-9 and I-10 and the rural areas are also no exception in this regard as rent of a five-marla single portion has been increased from Rs15,000 to 18,000 during this winter.

The rent of 10-marlsa portion in sectors of I-series has increased to Rs 35,000 and in F-series to Rs50,000. In developed sectors, the landlords rent out their properties only to the foreigners and in the newspaper ads they also mention monthly rent in foreign currency.

With the federal capital has already been facing the shortage of around 75,000 housing units, it deteriorates in winter season with huge influx of residents of hilly areas.

As far as Rawalpindi is concerned, the rentals have surged from Rs12,000 to Rs15,000 for five-marla house.

The rentals residential flats have also been increased from Rs10,000 to Rs12,000. “Unfortunately, the housing rentals in both the cities is not according to the size or quality of the building, rather it is as per the desire of the property dealers who monopolize the market,” said Arsalan Chaudhry, a government servant residing in Rawalpindi.

In absence of any law to control the housing rentals, there is no formula to set the rents of the five-marla or 10-marla house. In such case, the property dealers get advantage by fleecing the tenants to ensure their commission.

Besides the skyrocketing monthly rent, the tenants have to pay two-month rent in advance and security deposit equivalent to one-month rent to the landlord. Moreover, half of one-month rent goes to the property dealer who also charges the same from the landlord.

Murtaza Javed, a property dealer in sector G-9, said the demand for housing has increased with the onset of winter and influx of people from hill stations like Murree, AJK and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to pass cold days in the twin cities.

He said the dealers earn maximum revenue in this season as in summer or other season, teir business downs with decreased demand of accommodations. The houses in elite class sectors of Islamabad and Rawalpindi is unaffordable for the middle class. Majority of the jobholders prefer to live either in flats or any portion in suburban areas.

According to a CDA official, the housing rentals would decrease once the CDA develops new residential sectors. He said the Authority was in process of acquiring land of C-15 and C-16 sectors besides striving to develop already launched sector of I-15.