ISLAMABAD-Hundreds of investors associated with the real estate sector in Islamabad are caught in an economic crisis as the industry faces a decline in routine transactions.

The builders and real estate agents blame increase in taxation, ambiguous policies of the Capital Development Authority and a negative approach of its officers towards them for ongoing slumber in the real estate sector of the capital city.

They urged the city managers to improve their policies by making them investor friendly as per the vision of the incumbent government for which the core feature is ‘ease of doing business.’

President Islamabad Builders Association (IBA) Chaudhry Naseer while talking to The Nation has informed that the real estate sector is facing worst ever situation now-a-days. He said he is in this business from last 35 years but never saw such low rate of transactions in this sector.

“First of all, the increased taxes by federal government affects us then the narrow-mindedness of CDA officers is causing harm to the industry,” he said, adding: “Those plots that were auctioned by CDA in 2012 and building upon them are near to completion are still lacking basic facilities as there are no proper supply lines of electricity, gas and sewerage lines and no road infrastructure so far.”

He said several issues are lying pending with the civic authority from last many years but same could not be approved due to the lack of interest by CDA.

“There is no ownership for this city since the era of Kamran Lashari, former chairman CDA,” he declared, suggesting: “Government should appoint a CDA chief with clear vision who should be aligned with the practices and procedures of real estate sector of the modern countries.

“CDA should consider us investors not the enemies and the approach that all the builders are thieves should be curtailed,” he said rhetorically.

Meanwhile, the President Federation of Realtors Pakistan and President Islamabad Estate Agents Association Pakistan Sardar Tahir Mahmood explained that the irrational tax ratio increased the transfer cost to manifold which ultimately reduced the number of transactions.

He said on the other side, CDA has also intervened into the non-sectoral areas for approval of building plans for which they do not have the required staff and facilities. He said resultantly the projects worth over Rs300 billion are closed at present.

When questioned that how the slumber in the real estate sector can be gauged he said it is evident from the low rate of transactions from one window directorate of Capital Development Authority for sectoral areas while same can be assessed from the transfer of properties in private housing societies.

He said there is a clear decline in the industry which is also harming the growth of around 250 ancillary industries including cement, steel, brick, timber and building material.

Former President Islamabad Estate Agents Association Chaudhry Abdul Rauf while responding on the issue criticised CDA for its corrupt officers and said that the sale and purchase of properties in Islamabad is on unprecedented decline.

“Increase of tax is one of the factors but the real problem is CDA and its corrupt officers, who are creating hurdles in the way of the smooth completion of projects,” he added.