Lamudi says US main foreign investor in Pakistan’s upturning property market

By Andrei Skvarsky.

With its macroeconomics showing an upturn, Pakistan’s real estate sector is arousing increasing interest abroad, with the United States topping the list of foreign investors, according to global property portal Lamudi.

Pakistan’s property market has rebounded after a blow dealt to the country’s economic outlook by political protests in August last year and is poised for growth in 2015, the Berlin-headquartered portal said in a statement.

Stagnant prices coupled with uncertainty caused by political sit-ins in Islamabad had an adverse impact on Pakistan’s real estate market in 2014. However, the sector has since recovered, with prices stabilising, and even increasing in parts of the capital city.

Property business in other key cities such as Lahore and Karachi has also been on the rise.

“In recent months, we have seen renewed interest from overseas investors inquiring through our website. This comes after the economy has shown signs of recovery in the wake of last year’s political sit-ins, and with it the real estate sector has also rebounded,” the statement quoted Lamudi’s country director for Pakistan, Saad Arshed, as saying.

“Our onsite data shows that the USA is the leading foreign investor in Pakistan’s real estate market, with the highest number of overseas views and leads coming from the country. Foreign investors and overseas Pakistanis based in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Canada are also showing increasing interest in Pakistan’s buoyant property sector.”

The International Monetary Fund recently raised its gross domestic product growth forecast for Pakistan, predicting GDP would increase 4.7% during the 2015/16 financial year, and the Pakistani government is sure it can reach its 5.1% GDP growth target for the financial year 2014/15.

Foreign direct investment in Pakistan slid to $1.46bn in 2013 from its 2008 peak record of $5.4bn, but the government is seeking to reverse the decline by courting international investors through its Board of Investment.

Pakistan has one of the most liberal foreign investment regimes in South Asia, with investors offered incentives such as tax exemptions and reduced tariffs.

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