Why Pakistani expats prefer to buy apartments in cities

People are investing in farmhouses and residential projects as well.

Pakistani expatriates in the UAE are investing in diverse segments of real estate, with metropolitan cities like Karachi seeing more buyers opt for apartments while expats investing in Punjab prefer residential plots, according to real estate industry executives.

Ahmed Shaikhani, managing director, Shaikhani Group and president of Motor City in Karachi, said Pakistanis generally are more interested in plots.

“In metropolitan cities, they are looking for ready flats. In the suburbs, people prefer plots because expats buy land parcels in installments now so that they can build a house later when they move back to the home country after a few years. Plus, prices of plots increase almost every year due to the growth in population,” Shaikhani said during an interview at the two-day Pakistan Property Show which concluded in Dubai on Saturday.

Zeeshan Ali Khan, CEO and co-founder Zameen.com, which hosted the show, said expats are mostly investing in apartments in Karachi and in residential plots in Punjab.

“In Islamabad, it is a mix – both apartments and plots. In Punjab, about 50 to 60 per cent of overseas Pakistanis invest in plots and the rest in other segments.”

He pointed out that sentiments of overseas Pakistanis were recently dampened after the currency lost value against the US dollar.

“A drop in rupee value was good for expats in terms of higher remittances but sentiments were affected because they were waiting to see where the rupee settles down and what is the maximum value they could get from investing in real estate in Pakistan,” he added.

Khan stressed that trust in the developer is a key factor for Pakistanis abroad while investing in any project.

“The biggest challenge for Pakistanis living abroad is lack of confidence because some of them have been taken for a ride. If you look at the Pakistan property market, 99 per cent of developers end up delivering projects, but the time of delivery is not certain. This is the gap that needs to be addressed. Expats are open to investing and we have seen a positive trend in the last two months. Importantly, Pakistan is probably going to get $20 billion or so from foreign institutions and governments. We estimate that 20 per cent of that will go into real estate,” he added.

Mohammed Abdullah, managing director, Platinum Marketing, said Pakistanis based in the UAE prefer to buy apartments and villas that match the design and style of Dubai projects.

“People are investing in farmhouses and residential projects as well. They like those projects which provide a quality and lifestyle that matches Dubai,” Abdullah said during an interview at the Pakistan Property Show.

Abdul Ghani, a self-employed Dubai resident from Karachi, said there were some good options for property investment now.

“There are good small investment opportunities showcased here in projects like Abdullah City in Karachi and some projects in Rawalpindi. We are looking to invest in property from our savings because fixed deposit rates from banks here are very low. So, it is good to invest in residential plots in Pakistan where the returns are very high,” Ghani added.

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