Banker Hasan Iman Sumon recently purchased a plot in Faridpur's Bhanga upazila and has already started building a house there. When the construction is completed by September this year, he will move in there from a rented apartment in the capital with his wife and three-year-old son.
The 1,000 square feet apartment, where the banker now lives since his office is at Motijheel, costs him Tk20,000 per month plus in utility charges. Sumon says his new countryside home will provide a lot of things – exemption from monthly house rent, enough space for his child, and an end to the terrible living conditions in the congested capital.
And all these will be possible, according to the banker, because of the Padma Bridge and the smooth Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga Expressway, which slashes travel time between Faridpur and Dhaka to just one and a half hours from the previous six to eight hours.
The same factors – countryside comfortable living and faster travel to the capital – have spurred at least 200 housing projects by the Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga Expressway connecting the capital with the southwestern region through the Padma Bridge.
The projects are offering flats, ready houses, duplex villas and plots in new residential areas.
According to the Real Estate & Housing Association of Bangladesh (Rehab), around 200 realtors have already invested nearly Tk2 lakh crore in these projects.
Besides, rapid industrialisation centering on the bridge and transport corridor in Munshiganj, Shariatpur, Madaripur and Faridpur also fuel local housing demand, as many people, apart from housing enterprises, are building houses in those areas.
Amin Mohammad City has taken up the largest housing project, spanning 803 acres of land in Sirajdikhan area of the Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga Expressway. Divided into seven sectors, the housing project offers plots of 2.5 katha, 3 katha, 5 katha, 10 katha and 20 katha. Per katha (1 katha is equal to 0.0165 acre) of land in this project costs Tk15-30 lakh depending on the location of the plot.
Another residential project of Amin Mohammad Group, "The Valley Bangladesh", has been developed nearby on around 47 acres of land.
An official of Amin Mohammad Group said the projects will have plenty of trees, open space, and other civic facilities, including playgrounds, parks, shopping malls and mosques.
"We are getting enough clients. They prefer the location due to countryside living and in neighbourhood to the capital," said the official.
For the same reason, Ali Ahmed, a motor parts trader of Nawabpur area, and his four friends jointly bought 10 katha of land at Sirajdikhan upazila of Munshiganj four years ago.
The businessman, who now lives in Dhaka's Rampura, said it takes around one and a half hours to reach Nawabpur from his home. Via the expressway and Jatrabari Hanif flyover, it will take almost the same time to travel from Sirajdikhan to Nawabpur. Besides, there are no fears of traffic jams on the expressway.
Housing investment to tick up further
Alamgir Shamsul Alamin Kajal, president of the Real Estate & Housing Association of Bangladesh (Rehab), told The Business Standard that many realtors took up projects even before the Padma Bridge work got underway.
"We understood that the bridge and the expressways would increase civic amenities in those areas, and four districts divided by the mighty Padma will come closer to the capital," he commented.
He said about 200 members of Rehab have already invested more than Tk2 lakh crore and the investment will increase further.
"The demand for luxury housing will increase in these areas in the coming years, and big realtors will invest accordingly."
Apart from Amin Mohammad Group and Amin Mohammad City, Probashi Palli Group is implementing a housing project in Louhajang Upazila on about 200 bighas of land.
New Dhaka City is developing a residential project in Sirajdikhan area, spanning 150 bighas of land. On the Mawa end of the Padma Bridge, other projects include Redeem City, Sarkar City, Assure Lake City, Matribhumi City, Sumona Delta Town, Modern Green City, Apan Nibash, Akash Group Residential, South Dhaka Housing, New Dhaka City, Euro Model Town and South Green Town.
Kazi Nahid Rasul, deputy commissioner of Munshiganj, told TBS that most of the housing projects are in Munshiganj district.
She said the authorities are watchful so that no plot or flat buyer is cheated.
Most buyers are expats, businessmen
Suman Miah, chairman of Ichapur Union Parishad of Sirajdikhan Upazila, told TBS that most of the people who are buying plots and apartments in his areas are businessmen and Bangladeshi expatriates living overseas.
He said many government and private employees are also buying properties there.
Shariatpur's Naria Upazila Parishad Chairman AKM Ismail Haque said, "Many people are moving in here from the capital thanks to the easy transportation."
He said housing tops the new businesses developed around the expressway.
Economist Ahsan H Mansur said the residential projects centering on the Padma Bridge will play an important role in changing the economic landscape of those areas because there will be hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
He said investment in housing seems to be doing the best among businesses that are being developed around the Padma Bridge