Things to consider when buying a house in Karachi

We recently planned to buy a house in Karachi which would accommodate our expanded family. Like most other people we did not have much idea on the things to consider while looking for our dream house in Karachi so we had to rely on input from family and friends and real estate agents. Not only that we also inspected the houses in the different locations of Karachi so we could get a firsthand look into these things.
I have compiled a list of conditions one must consider while looking for their dream house and hopefully this will help someone and save them time.

  1. Security
    First thing to consider when buying a house in Karachi is to look for an area which was secure and away from the disturbance prone areas of the city. This has become an important factor since the rather unfortunate event of 2007 when a lot of people were not able to reach their homes due to violence by mobs and organized gangs. Even now there are some residential areas in the city which have been partitioned across ethnic lines and the real estate prices in those areas have taken a deep slump.
  2. Easy accessibility
    You should try to search for a house where you are able to access public transport easily. The nearer your house is to main roads and commercial centers in the city the higher the chances of you making a nice profit if and when you wish to sell your house at a later time. Some people may argue that your home should be as far away from commercial centers and public places so that you can enjoy the peace within your home.
    I agree but in this case you need more than one car at your disposal and servants who can run your errands. We must realize that 90% of the population in this city is from the low to middle income class and they are not able to afford all such luxuries.
  3. Budget
    Of course this is a no brainer yet most people would place this point at the top of their requirements. If you have a small budget (between Rs.5 million and Rs.9 million) then you can go for houses in the north and west areas of the city. If you have a medium budget (between Rs.10 million and Rs.19 million) then you can go for houses in the center and east areas of the city. If you have a high budget (Rs.20 million and above) then you can target houses in the posh east and south areas of Karachi. Your budget will also dictate whether you will be able to live in a secure area or not.
  4. House Elevation
    Karachi may be one of the few cities in the world where roads are carpeted with asphalt every 3-5 years instead of making them from scratch. Due to this elevation of houses has been affected severely. Houses which had been developed 12-20 years back now seem to be below road level and in the monsoon season one can see these houses submerged in nearly 1ft-2ft water. You should try to buy a house which is at least 2ft above the current road level as that will stand you through at least 10 years. Remember the higher the plinth of the house the more long term it will be for you.

Karachi is one of the largest and growing cities in Asia and the world. It has a population of 20 million people and it is an important hub in the region. If you buy a house today it will surely reward you in the next 10 years or so as the real estate prices in Karachi have not reached levels as they have reached in Dubai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur etc. The real estate prices in Karachi are still much low and within the reach of the people but it may not remain that way in the next few years so it’s better to buy today than to be sorry tomorrow.

For more real estate news and real estate advice in Pakistan click here.

Are people becoming too intimate in the public parks of Karachi?

I had the fancy of visiting the Bagh-e-Jinnah Park last Saturday Feb 27 2010 with a friend of mine. We had taken a quick lunch at McDonald’s sea view branch and decided to go for a stroll in the Bagh-e-Jinnah Park to lower the excess calories we had just taken.

If you have ever been to this park then you will know that it can be termed as one of the biggest parks in Karachi. It’s very picturesque and the way it has been developed is really a treat for any visitor. You can enter the park from two places. One way to enter the park is opposite of Park Towers though there is no place to park your car and most of the times the traffic police tow away vehicles should they find anyone breaking the law. The other way to enter the park is from the Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim road which runs parallel to the sea front.

As there is some space for parking on the Ibn-e-Qasim road we parked our car, paid the Rs.20 parking tax and went inside the park. As we entered it was saw families who had come to have an outing in the park. Children were playing about and having fun.

After passing those families and moving forward we started to see couples (I doubt they were married) sitting on benches chatting with each other. However, the more we walked further from the families we had just passed the more intimacy we saw. It was like they wanted to hide from public eyes and just do what they want. Some of them were holding hands, some were sitting awfully close to each other, some were talking face to face and boy were those faces near, some guys had put their arms across the gals, some were semi-lying on the benches, some guys were snapping photos of their gals in different positions and some were looking at video clips on their cell phones. Even when we passed their benches they made no attempt to change their posture. They didn’t give a damn to what others saw.

We went from one side of the park to the other and the scene we saw was the same everywhere. There was one other thing we noticed and that was the hedge just behind the benches had been cut in a way to allow any one to look from behind thereby forcing couples to remain within limits (which some were still trying to cross).

We did a quick calculation and were really surprised by the numbers. If there are over 300 benches in the park then you would have that much number of couples sitting in the park at one time and if an average couple sits in the park for 30 minutes then the number of couples coming there for this purpose from 2PM – 7PM (NOTE: Park is open till 11PM however I doubt if they would stay that long as most of them come from their jobs or colleges) would be around 3000 for a day. Even if we halve it, it is still a big number.

We left the park at 5:30PM thinking that the repercussions of the media and cell phone revolution is showing with full force now and young people in their teens and early twenties have become hostage to emotions which they should not have been exposed to at this point of time.

Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that some sanity prevails otherwise the type of scenes I witnessed with my eyes on that day should be an eye opener for those who cry for more “enlightened moderation” and “tolerance”.

Our young generation are at a stage where they may lose everything and gain nothing.

Click to find out the location of Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim

Terrorism in Karachi on Kashmir Day

I had gone to the office today to work on an urgent project which needed to be completed this week so it could be launched and marketed in the next week to prospective customers in a trade fair. February 5 is Kashmir day in Pakistan and it is public holiday. I decided to go by public transport to the office.

We then went for Juma prayers to a masjid near the office. We continued with our work. Then our lunch from Karachi Food arrived. We sat down to take lunch when all of a sudden we started to hear sirens of ambulances. We first thought that they were heading towards the procession which was passing through MA Jinnah road. However, when the frequency of those sirens start to increase we felt that there may be some problem in the city.

Sure enough one of the guys received a call from his friend and told him of the explosion which happened on Nursery. Now Nursery is 1km away from our office so you could understand that we were a bit apprehensive as we knew from past happenings in the city that these sort of things invite miscreants who go on a rampage burning cars and shops.

So, after discussions with management we set off for home. Now I hadn’t brought my car and I started looking for a taxi. As luck would have it, I got a coach on my route and was home by 5pm.

By that time the details had started coming through on TV. The explosion happened near the Tariq Road flyover. Over 12 people were killed and the injured were taken to JPMC.

A sad day for Karachiites.

UPDATE:
Another bomb explosion occurred at the JPMC. Stretchers flew in the air and people were really thrown around. 10 people killed and 40 people injured.