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Bangladesh's capital Dhaka City sees unprecedented increase in land prices

Date Added: May 23, 2008 03:33:23 AM

Bangladesh's capital Dhaka City has experienced an unprecedented increase in land prices since the early 70s with Dhanmondi showing 12,000 per cent rise since there is no control over the land market.

According to a study, Dhaka City has seen the unusual rise in land prices for lack of serviced land compared to the demand.

It says age-old land record system, taxation structure and cumbersome land transfer procedure have made the whole system unmanageable in the city where the land-man ratio is among the lowest in the world.

The study says real estate companies have had land development and housing projects allover the city driving up the land price, as they compete with each other for a single piece of land.

Land prices in areas where developers operate such as Dhanmondi, Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara, Segunbagicha, Siddheswari, Shantinagar and Mohammadpur are much higher.

The study says transformation of land use from residential to commercial knocks up the price further. The growth rate of land price of Dhanmondi was higher during 1983 to 2005, which was 1,222 per cent. In recent years, the land price in Dhanmondi has broken the previous records due to fierce competition among the developers.

The study found only one area in the city, Motijheel, where land price had been rising faster long before independence (between 1947 and 1966). Prices in Motijheel increased by 9,900 per cent before independence and by 2,400 per cent after independence.

It reveals that although there is almost no land transaction in the older part of Dhaka, there are some wards like 62, 63, 64, 66, 68, 69, 70, and 71 where land price is too high because of their commercial importance.

The study, titled Land Price in Dhaka City: Distribution Characteristics and Trend of Changes, says the pressure on limited land in Dhaka has not only intensified urbanisation, it has also led to indiscriminate filling of lowland in and around the city to make way for unplanned urban development.

The study has identified some physical factors that influence the land price in Dhaka. These include type of neighbourhood (planned/unplanned), width of the main road, width of access road, surface quality of the road, distance of the main road from the area, duration of water logging and distance of the marketplace and the nearest health facility.

The study suggested setting up of an information database to regulate the market, avoid artificially created land crisis, ensure equitable access to land by citizens and overcome the problem of speculation.

It says information about land price help the policymaker and the planners understand and analyze the dynamic urban structure of Dhaka as the capital city.

Suman Kumar Mitra, Md Abu Nayeem Sohag and Mohammad Aminur Rahman of Urban and Regional Planning Department of BUET conducted the study under the guidance of Ishrat Islam, a teacher of the department.

"It's like auction the way land is sold in Dhaka city. There should be a system to regulate the land market in the city," Ishrat Islam told UNB.

According to the 2001 census, 23 per cent of the country's population live in urban areas. The increasing rate of urbanisation is the effect of growing population and migration from rural areas. The mounting population pressure on Dhaka City has a severe impact on housing, infrastructure and employment sectors, which require land to meet the demand.

About the land price in Dhaka, a writer in an article says, Its now an open secret that a gulf of difference exists between the government and market prices of the city land. In this 'imperfect' or 'distorted' market, land becomes arguably the most valued commodity. It is no surprise that land receives more than its fair share of attention from land speculators and developers as well as grabbers. A gainful nexus develops between some of them and a section within the concerned authorities.

He says the developers are now on a rampage for land, creating ecological disasters in and around Dhaka.

Source: UNB

Date: Tuesday May 20, 2008


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