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* Property dealers say people concerned over security situation, reluctant to fill out police performa

By Nauman Tasleem

LAHORE: The real estate business has declined in the city after the recent wave of terrorism, different property dealers told Daily Times on Friday.

They said customers were frightened after the attacks and were not ready to buy or sell property. The business of renting out property was also affected because first, there were few customers and second, those who came with inquiries hesitated to fill the performa given by police to the property dealers.

On October 15, terrorists struck the police training schools at Manawan and Bedian, besides attacking the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) building. On October 20, the government announced to close down all educational institutions across the country after a suicide blast at the International Islamic University, Islamabad.

“People are afraid of the attacks and are least interested in buying property,” Chohan Estate Agency rent officer Arsalan Khalid said. He said only genuine buyers were inquiring about property rates and even they were scared of the law and order situation in the country. He said they received almost 20 to 30 customers daily, but the number had been reduced to five or seven.

He said the performa given to property dealers by police officials was another reason for the declining business activity. “It is very difficult for the person who wants to get a property on rent to arrange witnesses,” he said. The investors had already left the business due to poor economic conditions, but deteriorating law and order had worsened the situation.

The government has introduced an information form for property dealers which includes the name, address and CNIC of both the seller and the buyer of a property. The same form has to be filled in by both the parties if a property is being rented out. The person who is getting the property on rent has to produce two guarantors, besides ensuring a guarantee by the landlord where he used to live earlier.

Another property dealer Malik Mukhtar said the market witnessed some growth before the attacks. He said property prices declined by 20 to 40 percent last year due to the financial crunch, while this year the business had just gained momentum when incidents of terrorism increased.

“People’s confidence was being restored, but after the terrorist attacks, no one is interested in purchasing property and the same is true for the renting business,” he said.

He said the big guns in the business might be striking deals, but the small dealers had no business. He said he had finalised two deals, but both the buyers cancelled their deals after the October 15 attacks in the city. “The property business always depends upon the law and order,” he said, adding that the rent business was also at a low ebb due to reasons such as filling out the performa.
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