NATO’s 2014 exit dents Kabul property market
KABUL (PAN): The scheduled withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan in 2014 has dampened the property market in Kabul, forcing a 20 percent drop in property prices amid growing uncertainty over the future of the country, according to real estate brokers.
Property investors are edgy about the country’s security and financial health after the departure of foreign troops, which has affected the once-booming property market in Kabul. Land and house prices dipped by 20 percent in the past year, while rentals of residential units have dropped by more than 64 percentin Kabul, according to market players.
Mohammad Khan, a property dealer in Shar-i-Naw, who was busy selling at least two houses each month, is now struggling to sell or rent out one single unit over the last six months. Nearly 100 property owners have registered with his agency to sell or rent out their houses, but the market has stalled, he said.
Currently, there are one or two vacant houses in each street of the area that were earlier rented by foreign non-governmental organisations, but no one is ready to rent these houses at present, he noted.
During the good times, a 100-metre square of land cost $150,000 in Shar-i-Naw and $90,000 in Qala-i-Fathullah locality, but now the same plot costs only $120,000 and $70,000 in Shar-i-Naw and Qala-i-Fathullah respectively, he said.
The rental of a 20-room building was $17,000 per month a year ago but now the same property fetches merely $5,000 per month, he said adding the rental of a three-room building in Qala-i-Fathullah was tagged at $700 per month last year, but now priced at $500!
“People don’t like to buy a land or house, because they not sure of the country’s situation beyond 2014,” added Khan.
Another property dealer at 15th road of the Wazir Mohammad Kabar Khan locality, Shafiqullah Mohammadi, shares a similar view.
According to Mohammadi, prices and rental of houses in the Wazir Mohammad Akbar Khan locality had also been badly hit as foreigners are beginning to leave Afghanistan.
About 18 months ago, Mohammadi said the price of 100-metre square land was $200,000 but cost $170,000 now, he said adding that monthly rental of a house was $10,000 a year ago, but the same house could be rented for $4,000.
“I don’t think people would invest their capital until the situation of the country is clear,” he added.
Selling price of a three-room plot was $145,000 in Macro Ryan area in Kabul, but now it is available at $115,000, said another dealer in the locality, adding that before the same plot’s rental was $500 but not its rented at $400.
Meanwhile, a Nasht-i-Barchi area dealer Bahman Ali said price of 100-metre square land was 800,000 afghanis in Dasht-i-Barchi and Pul-i-Sorkh areas a year ago, but had slide to 500,000 afs. While the rental of a four-room house was 15,000 afs in 2011, but rental is less than 10,000 afs these days, he added.
But contrary to the city’s property dealers, Afghan economists are singing a different tune. They are optimistic that the nation’s economic conditions would stabilize after 2014.
“Although the security situation would become a little fragile at the beginning of 2014, the economic situation would be stable due to the commitments of the international community,” said Syed Masoud, an economic lecturer at Kabul University.
Some foreign media had started a “psyche war” in Afghanistan, sparking fears that the country would face security and financial crisis after the withdrawal of foreign troops, he said.
“If a professional president was elected in the next presidential election in 2014 and establish a professional cabinet, there would no problem after 2014 in the country. We always tell traders not to worry and do not withdraw their capital from Afghanistan, because it is disloyal to do so,” he added.
“Some dealers spread rumors of bad security and economic situation beyond 2014 to purchase properties at low prices and sell them at high prices after 2014,” he added.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.