Barrister Ajmalul Hossain QC, a senior Supreme Court lawyer, has a house in Dhaka, but he lives in an apartment in Rangs Waterfront – one of the first luxury condominiums in the country.
The veteran lawyer bought the apartment in 2008 for around Tk16 crore as it is very difficult to find such a large open space, swimming pool, garden and walking space in his house in the capital.
"I became interested in buying an apartment in the condominium as it sprawls over a large green area. There are almost all kinds of civic amenities here," Barrister Ajmalul Hossain QC told The Business Standard.
The number of condominiums – complexes of buildings containing individually owned apartments – across the country has been increasing constantly over the past two decades. Affluent buyers love these complexes as they leave a significant portion of the project area for open space.
According to the Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB), developers have built 184 condominium projects in the last 16 years across the country, which can accommodate about five lakh people.
The highest number of condominiums are in Dhaka (80), Chattogram (34), and Sylhet (14).
REHAB President Alamgir Shamsul Alamin (Kajal) told TBS that about Tk2 lakh crore has been invested in these condominiums.
REHAB Director Naimul Hassan told TBS that many of these projects are called "city within a city" as they provide all the necessary civic amenities inside their boundary.
Apartments in the condominium projects are costlier as they offer more facilities compared to typical housing projects. It is mainly businessmen, politicians, bureaucrats and expatriates who buy and live in these luxury apartments, said people involved in this sector.
There are two types of apartments in the condominium projects in the capital – luxury and ordinary.
One of the real estate developers said luxury apartments in the condominiums cost around Tk15-25 crore while ordinary ones cost around Tk1-5 crore, depending on the areas they are located in.
Japan-Bangladesh Joint Venture Company started the first condominium project in the Mohammadpur area in Dhaka in 2004.
Later, Building Technologies and Ideas Ltd (BTI), Concord Real Estate Limited, Navana Real Estate (NREL), Sheltech (Pvt) Ltd, Nakshi Homes Ltd (NHL), Sanmar Properties Limited, Rangs Properties Limited, ASSURE GROUP, ABC Real Estate Company, Artisan Real Estate Company, Dom-Inno Real estate company, Alliance Properties, Epic Properties Ltd, Edison Real Estate, Regent Design and Development Ltd (RDDL) started building condominiums in the city.
Sanmar Properties was the first to implement such a project in Chattogram, while East Valley Development Ltd built the first condominium in Sylhet.
Former Rajuk chairman ABM Amin Ullah Noori told TBS, "The condominiums projects are very suitable for citizens as they have all the facilities that are supposed to be available in a residential area. Therefore, the government encourages such private projects."
New condominiums developing
Housing companies have recently undertaken new condominium projects in different areas of the city, including Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Rampura, Malibagh and Kanchpur, as they are becoming increasingly popular. Some companies are building three condominiums simultaneously.
Rakeen Development Company has launched a large-scale condominium project called Bijoy-Rakeen City in Mirpur. The company is constructing 1,950 flats in 36 buildings on 16 acres of land. The project includes multiple playgrounds, swimming pools, walking areas, convention halls and schools, and leaves 62% of open space inside the project area.
The company has also undertaken a new condominium project on 150 bighas of land in Kanchpur as it got a huge response from customers for their apartments.
Navana Real Estate company is building a condominium on 30 bighas of land just beside Bijoy-Rakeen City. It is constructing 1,475 flats, leaving 52% of space open inside the project area.
The company has also started developing new condominium projects on 10 bighas of land in Mirpur-11 and eight bighas of land in Mohammadpur.
Sheltech has built its first condominium called "Sheltech Bithika" with 184 flats on 70 kathas of land on Mirpur Mazar Road. It is currently building another condominium named "Enclave Tower" with 135 flats on 36 kathas of land in Malibagh.
Its project "Renu Kabir Tower" is underway on 48 kathas of land in Badda. It has already started selling 115 flats in the project. They are also building two other projects in Panthapath and Mohammadpur areas.
According to the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkha (Rajuk), real estate developers have submitted applications for seven more condominiums in the capital. Around Tk20,000 crore will be invested in these projects.
Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel, president of the Sylhet Apartment and Real Estate Group, told TBS that a large number of people in the Sylhet area live outside the country.
"A large number of people from Sylhet live abroad. They are quite keen to provide accommodations for their parents or well-wishers in a peaceful environment near the city. So, the demand for condominiums in Sylhet division has been increasing," said Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel.
Some problems in the condominiums
The condominiums attract buyers with modern amenities, but some of them have failed to deliver on their promises.
Japan Garden City, the first condominium in Dhaka, is one such project that has already built 20 buildings on 10 acres of land and is constructing six more. Around 1,440 families live in the housing project and more will come to the new buildings.
Architect Iqbal Habib told TBS that there are no gardens inside Japan Garden City and no water in the swimming pool.
"There is no touch of life around these concrete dwellings," said Iqbal Habib.
Besides, the residential area does not have adequate facilities for the large number of people living there.
"There are so many condominiums in the country, but buyers often complain that they are not getting the promised facilities. The authorities concerned should work on these issues," he added.