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Analysing DHA’S dominance in Pakistan’s real estate sector

It is beyond question or argument that Defence Housing Authority (DHA) is the most popular real estate enterprise in Pakistan at the moment. Whether it is Lahore, Karachi or even Islamabad, where DHA is in its infancy by comparison, it consistently heads search trends. This is very understandable, seeing as DHA is widely trusted as an organisation and offers facilities, amenities and communities that are practically second to none.

Aside from constantly working to expand its scope in the three major cities of Pakistan with new phases and spin-off projects, DHA is now also set to move into new cities such as Multan and Gujranwala, which are fertile soils for the seeds of real estate goodness to be sown. These moves have been welcomed by residents and real estate professionals of both cities.

So this month, we will analyse DHA in more detail, taking a look at which of its phases in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad are currently the most popular among property hunters. This information is extremely useful for our readers looking to invest in DHA, because they stand to profit from smartly investing in phases that are in high demand and therefore more likely to increase in value over time.

OVERVIEW

While DHA is well-established in Lahore and Karachi, where it is the most sought-after address with few serious competitors, it has its work cut out in Islamabad. In the Federal Capital, DHA faces stiff competition from popular Capital Development Authority (CDA) sectors such as Sector F-11, Sector F-10, Sector E-11 and the like, as well as rival developer Bahria Town.

Although DHA Islamabad currently comprises Phase I, Phase II, Phase II Extension, Phase IV and DHA Valley – some of which are complete while others are under development – it is still in nascent stages by comparison to DHA Lahore and DHA Karachi. The former boasts 11 phases in all, while the latter has 8 phases and other developments such as DHA City in the works.

Nevertheless, interest in DHA Islamabad is high and it should not be long before it makes a decent place for itself in the capital’s real estate market as well.

LAHORE

Prices in DHA Lahore’s more established phases have increased so much over the last few years that their market has effectively been limited to a small pool of buyers and investors who are able to afford them. The newer phases, generally speaking Phase V and beyond, are more within reach of average buyers, which has led them to become highly popular choices among those looking for property in DHA.

MOST POPULAR PHASES FOR PLOTS IN DHA LAHORE

  • DHA Phase VII leads all others with 34% of the total searches for plots in DHA
  • DHA Phase VIII lost out on first place by a mere 0.20%, coming in 2nd with 14%
  • DHA Phase VI was hot on the top 2’s heels with 15% of the total searches
  • DHA Phase V came in 4th with 89% of the total searches for plots in DHA Lahore
  • DHA 9 Town, which is also known as Shuhada Town, came in 5th with 27%

MOST POPULAR PHASES FOR HOMES IN DHA LAHORE

  • DHA Phase V was the most popular one for homes in DHA Lahore with 14% of the total searches
  • Defence Raya beat out other DHA phases to claim 2nd place with 08% of searches
  • DHA Phase VI also received some interest, with 58% of searches going its way
  • DHA Phase III & DHA Phase I were tied for 4th place with 84% of searches apiece
  • DHA Phase VIII rounded up the list with 45% of the searches for 5th place

Chart showing 1-kanal plot prices in DHA's different phases

The state of affairs in Lahore’s property market are presenting a familiar picture. Owing to the general unrest in the country since the start of anti-government sit-ins in Islamabad, the entire real estate sector of the country has struggled with activity that is significantly less than usual for this time of year, and Lahore is no exception.

This lack of activity has had an effect on prices since the beginning, and this phenomenon is continuing, according to Zameen.com’s stats for August 2014. In a month-on-month analysis, the average price for 1-kanal plots in DHA Lahore gained only a minute 1.09% since July, while the same-sized plots in Bahria Town Lahore came down 1.90%.

One-kanal plots in LDA Avenue I also struggled, losing 1.85% of their average value, and the high-flying Lahore Cantt gained only a sobering 0.26%.

On the housing front, not much has changed either. Lahore Cantt still comes top of the table with an average sale price of Rs 36,292,010 for a 1-kanal home, while DHA Lahore is in second place with an average sale price of Rs 34,450,808 for 1-kanal homes. Johar Town still maintains the highest rental yield among popular localities in Lahore with 5.02%.

Lahore 1

KARACHI

The qualities that make DHA such a sought-after address everywhere else become positively essential when it comes to Karachi. This amazing city has sadly been subjected to violence and plagued by security issues for years now, and DHA offers the perfect haven where residents feel safe and cared for. Its ideal location close to the sea is also a huge positive factor, and several high-end projects in and around it, such as DHA’s own Creek Vista luxury apartments, Emaar Pakistan’s Crescent Bay, and The Arkadians by the AKD Group make it that much more desirable.

MOST POPULAR PHASES FOR PLOTS IN DHA KARACHI

  • DHA Phase VIII pulled a whopping 01%, nearly half of all searches, to claim 1st place
  • DHA Phase VII came in second with 59% of the total searches for plots in DHA Karachi
  • DHA Phase VI claimed 3rd place with a modest 27% of the total searches
  • DHA Phase V did not receive much interest, with only 95% of searches going its way
  • DHA Phase II rounded up the list with 34% of the total searches for 5th place

MOST POPULAR PHASES FOR HOMES IN DHA KARACHI

  • DHA Phase VI was the most popular for homes in DHA Karachi with 37% of the total searches
  • DHA Phase V claimed 53% of all searches for homes in DHA Karachi for 2nd place
  • DHA Phase VIII came in at number 3 with 70% of searches for homes in DHA Karachi
  • DHA Phase II was the number 4 choice, with 73% of searches going its way
  • DHA Phase VII was in last place with 30% of searches for homes in DHA Karachi

Karachi 1

Karachi’s real estate market also felt the heat from cautious investors. While genuine buyers in established societies kept the market from coming to a complete standstill, under-development projects that depend heavily on investors suffered declines in prices.

As a result, 1-kanal plots in DHA Karachi and Gulistan-e-Jauhar gained 2.10% and 2.72% respectively in value month-on-month, but prices in DHA City Karachi came down 9.40% in the same time span. However, this trend is unlikely to continue in the long term and prices in places like DHA City Karachi should stabilise once the country’s unstable political situation is resolved. Prices in Gulshan-e-Iqbal remained stable, losing only a minute 0.23% in value month-on-month.

ISLAMABAD

As stated earlier, DHA Islamabad still has some battles to win before it can become the premier residential project in the capital. Nevertheless, its beautifully picturesque location, excellent amenities and the power of the DHA brand are all slowly coming together to lift it up to the big leagues of Islamabad’s real estate. In our search trend numbers below, only DHA Phases I and II and DHA Valley are featured because the rest are still under development.

MOST POPULAR PHASES FOR PLOTS IN DHA ISLAMABAD

  • DHA Phase II is currently the most popular phase for plots with 09% of the total searches
  • DHA Valley comes in at number 2 with 21% of the total searches for plots
  • DHA Phase I claimed58% of the total searches to come in at number 3

MOST POPULAR PHASES FOR HOMES IN DHA ISLAMABAD

  • DHA Phase II is also the hottest phase for homes with 55% of the total searches
  • DHA Valley received decent interest as well, with 65% of searches for 2nd place
  • DHA Phase I claimed only06% of the total searches for homes in DHA Islamabad

Islamabad 2

It was in the property market of the Federal Capital that the current hostile political climate had the most effect. This is understandable, seeing as Islamabad is where the actual anti-government sit-ins are taking place and where sporadic clashes between protesters and police have paralysed businesses.

However, the silver lining to this cloud has been the fact that barring Bahria Town Islamabad – where 1-kanal plots lost 11.51% of their value month-on-month – most popular localities in the capital have suffered very small declines in prices.

One-kanal plots in the highly popular and equally expensive Sector F-11 lost 0.31% of their value over the same time period, while DHA Islamabad and Sector E-11 lost 1.86% and 0.64% respectively.

Islamabad’s housing market fared better, with home prices in the city’s top localities exhibiting great stability. On average, a 1-kanal home in Sector F-11 went for Rs 63,621,315 and had an average monthly rent of Rs 188,542. Sectors E-11 and G-11, both popular locations for homes, also maintained their price trends month-on-month.

Islamabad 1

FINAL ANALYSIS

Until the situation in Islamabad takes a turn for the better, it is unlikely that market activity will resume with full fervour. However, the numbers are not painting as bleak a picture as expected.

“With the exception of Islamabad, where the situation isn’t too bad either in my opinion, the general numbers from across Pakistan are bracing rather than frightening,” said Mr Zeeshan Ali Khan, the CEO and Co-Founder of Zameen.com.

“We keep a very close eye on the market at all times, and we’ve just as closely monitored the situation during this political instability. My analysis is that things could have been far worse, and we should be grateful that they are not,” he added.

Commenting on the search trends in DHA across Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, Mr Khan said DHA’s popularity has given other developments impetus to up their game.

“We look at the search volumes directed towards DHA across the board and it is obvious that they’re the one to beat. This is extremely positive because competition is always a healthy way to bring up general standards in any field,” he added.

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