Speakers at a roundtable stressed that the government should create housing zones in the country like economic zones for the development sector.

They also said that the policy of urbanisation in Bangladesh is no longer determined by supply and demand.

These recommendations were made at a roundtable organised by Prothom Alo along with Building Technology and Idea (BTI) Limited on Saturday.

Moderated by Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Qayyum, the roundtable was titled ‘Investment risks in the housing sector and how to overcome’.

Inaugurating the roundtable, BTI managing director FR Khan showed how housing sector businesses worked during ideal conditions.

Former president of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) and also the managing director of Sheltech, Toufiq M Seraj said the housing sector has become risky since 2012 following an uneven competition.

Many small businessmen involved in the sector were unable to finish their projects after they started, he added. This affected the reputation of the professionals in the sector.

Building for Future Limited (BFFL) managing director Tanveerul Haque Probal said the government should take initiative to decentralise Dhaka in order to ease the pressure on the city. The private sector was unable to do anything uneless decentralisation took place.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Tania Amir said the housing sector has a number legal issues. It is the responsibility of a buyer to utilise the services of a lawyer while finalising the purchase of a flat, she said.

The speakers also discussed the problems and risks they face in the sector. They said after acquiring a loan from the bank, a buyer should clearly know the time limit to clear the loan. A number of buyers cancel their booking after signing the agreement with the housing company. Many of them complained that the cancellation fee is very high at that time.

Apartment buyers face several risks. The primary agreement does not contain all the clauses and a number of housing company officials refrain from informing all the details to the buyers. The design shown during the booking, and the flat after its completion, are not the same. On the other hand, the hidden expenses regarding the bank loan are also not clear at the initial stage.