Realtors on Tuesday voiced concerns over the price spirals of key construction materials, which, according to them, may harm the country's real estate sector. They also sought the government's intervention to arrest the price hike.
At a press conference in the capital, Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) said prices of major construction materials including rods, bricks and stones, have been on a significant rise over the last several months.
Moreover, the recent rise in prices of different brands of cement, a key construction ingredient, have come as yet another blow to the real estate sector which had experienced a few years ago.
Keeping this in view, the apex trade body of the sector sought the government's intervention in this regard.
"We urge the government to take necessary measures, so that the prices of basic construction materials come down to a rational level and any adverse effect to the real estate sector can be avoided," REHAB president, Alamgir Shasmsul Alamin, said, cautioning the sector might face trouble in the coming days if immediate steps are not taken to reduce the prices.
He made the appeal at a press conference, held at the National Press Club, organised by the REHAB to protest the hike in construction materials price.
REHAB's senior vice president Nurun Nabi Chowdhury, vice president Liakat Ali Bhuiyan and director Kamal Mahmud were also present, among others.
Speaking at the programme, Shasmsul Alamin mentioned that real estate sector has been making a significant contribution to the national economy, as 269 other linkage sectors are related with it. "But such a crucial sector is facing crisis due to some 'adverse policy' in recent months, when it is about to recover following the crisis several years earlier".
He also said "At present unusual price hike of construction materials like rod, cement, bricks and stones are pushing the house-builders into a serious problem."
Quoting reference from Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), he said the price of per tonne 60-grade rod has been increased to Tk 68,000-Tk 70,000 from Tk 59,000-Tk 60,000 in the last week. The price of the material was Tk 52,000-Tk 53,000 a year ago.
Price of 40-grade rod increased to Tk 53,000-Tk 56,000 from Tk 42,000-Tk 43,000 a year ago.
Rods' prices marked an overall 23 per cent increase in a year, he said.
Besides, he continued, per bag cements of different brands are now being sold at Tk 420 to Tk 460. The material is costlier by Tk 50-Tk 60 per bag compared to the price six months ago.
Neither any new tax has been imposed on cement nor the prices of its raw materials were increased during this period, he said, raising a question: "Then, why such price hike?"
Prices of other key ingredients like bricks and stone also increased in recent months, he added.
Such price hike will push the realtors in serious problem soon since many of them are about to suspend construction work and, as a result, the clients will not get their flats on time, he warned.
"We seek the government's intervention to find a solution to the crisis," he said.
He suggested the government to organise an exchange of views meeting with the participation of all stakeholders to find a way forward.
Echoing him, Nurun Nabi Chowdhury said such price hike will also cause problems to the government's development works across the country.
He also mentioned that the upward trend in prices of major construction materials has become a cause of anxiety as the sector is already facing challenges including over 15 per cent flat registration cost hike and double digit interest rate for home loan.
In response to a query, the REHAB president said that a total of 11,000 flats are still unsold which was around 14,000 a year ago.
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