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Unveiling the Future of Construction in Pakistan

Step into a time machine and transport yourself back to an era when towering structures were mere figments of imagination. If we delve into history, we discover that the concept of high-rise buildings was nonexistent, as the need for such towering marvels had not yet emerged. However, a transformative turning point awaited, lurking just beyond the horizon of the 1880s. When architectural pioneers emerged to cater to the escalating needs of a growing population and the surging prices of land. These architectural wonders became a reality and set a revolutionary chapter in the history of human habitation through the applicability of steel structural frames and the glistening allure of glass exterior sheathing (High-rise Building | Design, Construction & Safety, n.d.).

The Trend and Necessities:
The Pakistani real estate market, a report by foreign real estate specialists predicts a 30% increase in the market over the following five years. The property trends in Pakistan are changing due to influencing factors where people prefer to go more to locations where thriving industries are operated for better employment opportunities (Understanding the Real Estate Market in Pakistan: 2023 Trends and Forecasts, n.d.).

According to the United Nations Development Program, Pakistan is one of the few countries with a high proportion of millennials. Millennials are widely regarded as a sluggish generation that prefers to have a place such as a flat or commercial property that is easy to maintain (Increasing Demand for Apartment Living in Pakistan, n.d.).

The Importance of Shifting:
Pakistan finds itself at a critical juncture, with its population burgeoning at an astonishing rate of 2 percent per annum. This rapid surge in population growth has become a cause for concern, casting a shadow of apprehension over the nation's future trajectory (Wardah Gull. (n.d.). 

With the current economic instability in the past year, Pakistan’s economic condition worsened as it faced an ever-growing balance of payment crisis with depleting foreign reserves, ballooning debt, and record-breaking inflation. On the other hand, political turmoil has also been added to the financial meltdown due to changing of governments in the country slowing down the process of a new vision (Hussain, 2023).

The previous government made every effort to realize its state vision for vertical cities in Pakistan to assist the country in better-utilizing land and freeing up more area for green spaces. The cost of raw materials begins to rapidly rise, and the project bill of quantities begins to vary with greater intensity, investors get disheartened and concerned, and the industry as a whole begins to deteriorate, which might have a significant influence on Pakistan's GDP (A, 2022).

This can only be compensated by an overall improvement in the performance of the rupee over time, but the government may need to subsidize specific construction-related businesses to balance the cost of raw materials. There is currently no policy that shows promise in this regard. However, recent government measures indicate that the government has created a more difficult environment for private investment in several ways.

In the current 2022-2023; financial budget with regards to real estate, FBR has stated that the reason to impose a new tax on real estate in particular on unproductive assets like plots is to encourage people to invest in apartments/vertical constructions (Shahnawaz, 2022).

The government is promoting vertical growth, which construction experts, investors, architects, and interior designers should be aware of. Apartments and commercial properties have been exempted from capital gains tax (CGT), attracting more investment and accelerating growth (A, 2022).

Long-term Housing Construction Vision for Pakistan:
The government's incentivized behavior can surely help encourage High-rise buildings to accommodate the growing population in less space with maximum efficiency since High-rise buildings are available in all sizes and can be used for longer periods along with catering to the preference of locations where thriving industries are operated. It will be a possible solution for creating more space for agricultural land and meeting the need for housing units (I, 2022).

The Vice-Chancellor of Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture Dr. Asif Ali stated “No doubt that we need more housing units with rise in population but it does not mean to use our agricultural land for this purpose,” he added arguing that in countries like Singapore where plain land is not available, the structure is built vertically (App, 2022).

Keeping the country's escalating challenges of increasing population, political and economic instability, and the need for more housing units on agricultural land in mind paints a bleak picture of the country's future. Political leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders must unite to develop comprehensive strategies to work towards enhancing political stability by enacting and enforcing sustainable policies and development, ensuring the preservation of valuable agricultural areas while managing urbanization effectively. By acknowledging the gravity of the situation and embracing a united vision for the future, the country can forge a path toward a more stable, prosperous, and resilient future for generations to come.

Understanding the Real Estate Market in Pakistan: 2023 Trends and Forecasts. (n.d.). Understanding the Real Estate Market in Pakistan: 2023 Trends and Forecasts.
High-rise building | Design, Construction & Safety. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica.
Increasing Demand for Apartment Living in Pakistan. (n.d.). Increasing Demand for Apartment Living in Pakistan.
Wardah Gull. (n.d.). Number: ISS-03 November 02, 2022 - National Defense University, Pakistan.
A. (2022, November 15). Impact on Construction Industry: Trends, Insights - Landscape PLC. Landscape PLC.
Shahnawaz, C. (2022, June 13). Year 2022-23 Budget taxes and impact on real estate sector of Pakistan. Imlaak.
Hussain, A. (2023, July 19). ‘Exceptionally high’ economic risks in Pakistan, IMF report says. ‘Exceptionally High’ Economic Risks in Pakistan, IMF Report Says | International Monetary Fund News | Al Jazeera.
I. (2022, November 21). Micro-housing or Vertical Housing: Which is the better option for Pakistan? Iqbal Institute of Policy Studies – IIPS.
App. (2022, August 22). Housing Societies “eating up” fertile agricultural land. Brecorder.