The property market in February for all four major cities presented a mixed picture of moderate growth and stability, showing the steady recovery of the real estate market from previous events. Very few drops were present, and were moderate. The upcoming elections have investors waiting to see what the economic situation of the country will be, and the real estate market will change accordingly once the elections are over.

In Lahore, the market remained largely stable with no significant changes. The 1-kanal plots in all major localities remained stable for the most part, in accordance with the ongoing bearish trends in property. However, 10-marla plots in many societies experienced moderate growth, which shows that genuine buyers seeking to build their homes are the current major players in Lahore’s real estate.

Islamabad’s property market showcased interesting trends with moderate growth overall, and stability in some societies. For the most part, investors were holding off in anticipation of the inauguration of Islamabad International Airport to be held in April. Once the airport is inaugurated, localities around it are expected to perform quite well.

For the real estate market of Karachi, stability prevailed for the most part, with a few notable exceptions where there were moderate rises and drops. Societies where development was being undertaken at an encouraging pace were more popular, whereas investors were still taking a backseat to see how the elections would play out.

Gujranwala’s real estate market proved to be the most encouraging in February, with moderate growth in almost every project. This is due to the currently low prices in the area and the anticipation around the ongoing development in major societies. Ever since the launch of DHA Gujranwala, the property market in the city has been active due to the high potential gains that can be garnered in the area.

Overall, stability and moderate growth were the prevailing trends, continuing the bearish trend of the past few months, with steady improvement being seen as investors anticipate future returns once a clearer picture of the market is presented after the elections.

In Lahore, DHA Phases I-VI showcased stability for 1-kanal plots with a minor difference of 0.63%, and moderate growth of 1.79% in 10-marla plots. This can be attributed to the rising number of homes being constructed in Phases V and VI by genuine buyers, who veer more towards 10-marla plots than 1-kanal plots.

DHA Phases VII-IX showcased similar trends, with 1-kanal plots clinging to stability at 0.56%, and 10-marla plots going up by 1.25%. A significant amount of this rise is due to development work being undertaken in Phase IX, where prices are currently ideal for both investors and genuine buyers, and are expected to rise once the society takes shape.

For Bahria Town, February showed mixed trends with a stability prevailing with a change of 0.20% for 1-kanal plots, and a moderate rise of 2.44% for 10-marla plots. Again, this indicates the significance of genuine buyers in the currently bearish market.

Bahria Orchard’s 1-kanal plots were the only ones to experience a moderate drop of 1.34%, with its 10-marla plots remaining stable at a price fluctuation of 0.55%. However, the current prices are ideal for investors to resume their interest here, as these prices will go up once possession is handed within the next 15 months or so.

In Wapda Town, prices remained stable for both 1-kanal and 10-marla plots. This is because the locality is largely saturated and there is little new activity here for prices to respond accordingly.

LDA Avenue I remained stable, with the prices changing by 0.17% and 0.86% for 10-marla and 1-kanal plots, respectively. This society remained stable due to the homes already built and inhabited there, leading to a certain amount of activity by genuine buyers for the plots in the society not under litigation.

Plots in Islamabad’s Sector F-11 showcased moderate growth of 1.60% and 1.53% for both 10-marla and 1-kanal options, respectively. This is due to the fact that it is only 20 minutes away from the Islamabad International Airport, which has generated activity in the area.

DHA Islamabad, on the other hand, remained stable, with 10-marla plots going up by 0.20%, and prices of 1-kanal plots changing by 0.23%. Its location away from the airport means that it does not get the attention localities around the airport are receiving. In addition, genuine buyers are more prevalent here than investors.

In Bahria Town, 1-kanal plots stayed at a stable 0.49% decrease in prices, while 10-marla plots experienced a moderate growth of 1.85% due to the bearish trends leading genuine buyers to purchase 10-marla options to live in.
Sector E-11 remained stable due to saturation, with rates of 1-kanal plots increasing by 0.59%, and those for 10-marla plots decreasing by 0.46%.

Sector B-17 experienced stability with an increase of 0.43 % for its 1-kanal plots, and moderate growth of 1.03% for its 10-marla plots. At the current point in time, plot owners here are holding on to their property in anticipation of the airport’s inauguration causing prices to appreciate greatly in the near future.

The society that showcased a good performance in February 2018 was Gulberg Residencia. Recent developments in the area and the movement of the property market towards it has lead its 10-marla plots to go up by 2.92%, and its 1-kanal plots to appreciate by 3.43%.

DHA Karachi remained stable with an increase of 0.67% for 250 yd2 plots, and 0.16% for 500 yd2 plots. This was because no major developments were announced there, and genuine buyers ruled the market. With more people inhabiting the locality, bearish trends are being experienced, as stability is a sign of genuine buying being more prevalent than investment.

On the other hand, DHA City Karachi experienced moderate growth for both 250 yd2 and 500 yd2 options. The former went up by 3.28%, while the latter increased by 3.09%. In the past few months, rates here had been dropping, leading to the ideal situation for investors to come in and generate activity in the locality.

Bahria Town Karachi experienced downward trends, with 250 yd2 plots dropping by a moderate 1.81%, and rates of 500 yd2 plots clinging to stability with an increase of 0.23%. This was because buyers of property here held on to it, as possession was expected to be handed over in March, with greater returns expected in the future. In addition, the status of land in certain parts of Bahria Town Karachi was uncertain, leading to investors being cautious about the locality.

Gulshan-e-Iqbal continued its ongoing trend of stability, with prices decreasing by 0.14% for 250 yd2 plots, and increasing by 0.15% for 500 yd2 plots. This has been characteristic of the locality, which is largely saturated, so significant investor activity is not generated.

DHA Gujranwala experienced moderate growth for both 1-kanal and 10-marla plots. The 1-kanal plots appreciated by 1.22%, while 10-marla plots went up by 3.23%. These rises were lower than this society’s previous performances as investor attention was diverted from these plot sizes toward the 5-marla plot files, with their ballot expected to be held in March. Development in DHA Gujranwala has made the city a popular hub for real estate investment.

Similarly, Citi Housing also experienced moderate growth, with 1-kanal plots appreciating by 3.07%, and 10-marla plots improving by 3.55%. This growth is due to the ongoing development in the society, especially its Phase III, which is also known as a sports city due to the recreational facilities it offers.

DC Colony experienced a change in its previously low trends, with prices of 1-kanal plots remaining stable with an increase of 0.97%, and prices of 10-marla plots experiencing moderate growth of 1.54%. This was a change from its previous performance, as there was ongoing anticipation in the market that its issues are on the way towards resolution.

In Master City, 10-marla plots remained stable with rates decreasing by a negligible 0.72%, while 1-kanal plots experienced moderate growth by 1.03%. When possession becomes available throughout the society, and ongoing development completed, these rates will improve. The 1-kanal plots performed better than 10-marla plots due to their popularity with overseas investors.

Overall, the real estate market fared in quite a stable manner, with hints towards steady growth in the near future. Circumstances from last year, and the upcoming elections mean that investors are biding their time before fully participating in dealing with property. As the year progresses, and new developments and mega-projects such as Islamabad International Airport, come to light, the market is expected to perform much better.

It was seen that genuine buyers are still the prevalent force in the current real estate situation, and have kept the bearish trends form the past few months ongoing. In all four major cities, almost all of the projects showcased stability and moderate growth, indicating the slow and steady recovery of the property market. Lahore remained largely stable, with Karachi performing similarly. However, the infrastructural development in Islamabad created buzz in its real estate market, which will be more apparent in a few months. Gujranwala, being a relatively newer and affordable option, has generated quite some hype and interest when it comes to property. Quality projects at the current prices make Gujranwala attractive to investors.

“Pakistan’s real estate has shown encouraging progress in February when you compare it to the ups and downs of the last year. However, we can only see for certain how well the market will perform once the elections are over. The one thing that we know for sure is the need for regularisation has never been greater- with it, we shall see better trends, growth, and overall stability,” said Zameen.com CEO Zeeshan Ali Khan.