Development analysts suggest financial support program for homeless people and tenants

| Update:
Nov. 20, 2021, 3:33 p.m.

A suggestion to introduce a financial support program for the homeless and tenants seems categorical, as expensive building materials make housing unaffordable for many, including middle and lower income groups.

The cost of building construction in Bangladesh has nearly doubled over the past decade, with the building materials price index surging 96%, analysts said on Friday, following the latest price spiral of rod and cement in particular.

Ballooning construction costs are causing people to back down, especially in metropolitan areas, in their aspirations to get homes, they said.

The reports trace another subtle surge in large real estate purchases in the country in the same way that real estate bubbles occur in major economies.

Housing prices have become more expensive in metropolitan cities, including Dhaka and Chattagram, dashing hopes of many for a roof over their heads and setting headwinds on the government’s “home for all” slogan.

According to government statistics, the cost of building construction has increased mainly due to the upward trend in the prices of building materials over the past decade.

The recent Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) survey shows that the Building Materials Price Index (BMPI) has increased 96.02 percent over the past 10 years.

The BMPI was recorded at 629.24 in the last fiscal year (FY) 2020-21, according to data from the BBS. Ten years ago, in fiscal year 2011-12, the BMPI reported 321.01.

Development analysts claim that rising construction prices have affected residents of all cities in Bangladesh, especially in mega-cities.

Homes for the middle and lower classes and the poor are still a long way off in cities like Dhaka and Chattagram from “mismanagement” of material prices, they said.

Government data shows that around 5.0 million people in Bangladesh do not have a place to live while three quarters of the total population live in mud houses.

The Planning Commission’s five-year plan reveals that around 5.0 million people are homeless while 74 percent of the population live in mud houses.

According to the 2019 Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES), some 74.87% of families live in permanent mud houses while only 4.95% of households have pucca buildings. In addition, 2.13 percent live in slums and makeshift mud houses.

According to the BBS survey, the number of homeless people is increasing. In 1991, some 0.95 million people were homeless, rising to 1.13 million in 2001 and 4.6 million in 2010.

Homelessness is not visible in rural areas, as homeless people usually erect houses on the land of their loved ones. Many people live on the shores of coastal areas and those without options migrate to cities, and most of them remain homeless.

The latest BBS survey shows that the cost of construction has doubled mainly due to the upward trend in the costs of building materials in the country.

According to the BBS BMPI, the cost of building materials has increased 103.18% over the past decade.

In addition, the transportation costs related to construction have registered a moderate increase of 84.84% over the past 10 years.

In contrast, the cost of labor increased at a slower pace over the period.

According to the BMPI, the cost of labor has increased by 42.98 percent over the past 10 years.

Former Director General of the Bangladesh Institute for Development Studies (BIDS), Dr Mustafa K Mujeri, told FE that since many construction products and raw materials in Bangladesh are imported, their prices depend on the international market trend.

However, the government should find out the reasons for the rising prices and ensure an adequate supply of materials to ensure affordable prices for all.

“Since many people are still homeless, the government should guarantee their residential facilities by making housing prices affordable,” he said.

Center for Political Dialogue (CPD) research director Dr Khandker Golam Moazzem told FE that, given higher construction prices, the government could introduce a financial support program for the homeless. and tenants.

“Due to higher house rents in metropolitan cities, many middle- and lower-income people and the poor spend around 30-50% of their income on residential facilities. So the government can introduce financial support scheme for people below a certain amount of monthly income, ”he said.

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