Even back in the 1990s, when many areas of Dhaka could have been considered “far away” from the central zones, several major roads connected Mirpur to the rest of the city, and the area had a well-established transportation system in place
We have all heard the jokes and seen the memes: “Take a 2-day exciting tour of Mirpur.” Many would portray Mirpur as a distant land for the residents of Dhaka to visit. However, the reality is something completely different. Mirpur has always had great connectivity.
Even back in the 1990s, when many areas of Dhaka could have been considered “far away” from the central zones, several major roads connected Mirpur to the rest of the city, and the area had a well-established transportation system in place.
As a result, communication to and from the area had been quick. This made Mirpur a very desirable location in the eyes of home and land buyers, and land prices went from Tk2 lakh to Tk4 crore between the 1990s to the 2010s.
The promise of great connectivity and affordability has convinced many to invest in real estate in Mirpur. And while the affordability factor continues to persist even today, the once-great communication network has suffered a blow due to slow traffic in recent times.
The surge in private vehicles and rickshaws has forced the city’s traffic to come almost to a halt. The roads, the transportation – they are still there; it’s just the national 7km-per-hour average speed that’s making Mirpur seem far away. However, the promise of great and quick connectivity that Mirpur once had is poised to come back as we enter the final half of the construction of the Metro Rail project, chiefly the Dhaka MRT Line 6.
A much needed solution
Modern Mirpur hosts an uncountable number of offices, hospitals and even the national cricket stadium, resulting in thousands of people commuting there each day. Many also regularly come to Mirpur to shop for saris in the BanarasiPalli, or spend an afternoon in the National Zoo or the Botanical Garden.
But the presence of constant heavy congestion has made travelling to Mirpur frustrating, and sometimes even infuriating since it can take several hours to travel less than 10 kilometres. That means Mirpur residents may have to endure this traffic jam every time travelling to any of the other parts of the city.
This deterred many from moving to and investing in Mirpur real estate for a while, and as a result, the price of apartments went down. The real estate sector in Mirpur, however, is bouncing back as we near the completion of the Metro Rail project.
The elevated rail service will connect Mirpur to Uttara, Farmgate, Shahbagh, Dhaka University and Motijheel, stretching more than 20 kilometres, via rapid transport, which is supposed to cut travel time by two-thirds. This promise of renewed quick connectivity has reignited people’s interest in Mirpur, and the biggest beneficiaries are those areas that will have a Metro Rail station.
Sky’s the limit
Pallabi, Mirpur 11, Mirpur 10, Kazipara, Shewrapara and Agargaon – these six locations within Mirpur will have the benefit of having Metro Rail stations and stand to gain the most. The residents of these areas will have easier access to the resource than the rest. And as it tends to happen all over the world, a location with better infrastructural development usually has higher real estate prices.
During the downturn, apartments in Mirpur that were sold for Tk5,000 per square feet in 2010 were being sold for Tk3,500 – Tk4,500 per square feet in early 2015, before the construction of the Metro Rail began. Flats in places like Rupnagar, Pallabi and Mirpur 11 were going for even less.
However, the revived interest and demand for real estate in Mirpur is restoring property prices to the pre-declining era. And most importantly, the station zones are seeing a more substantial increase in real estate value in less time. As it stands, the average square feet price of apartments in Mirpur 10 is about Tk5,100 (Source: Bproperty Database), which is higher than what some of the best apartments in the area were fetching back in 2010.
Aside from the Metro Rail, Mirpur 10 is one of the more high-value neighbourhoods within the area, along with Mirpur 2 and Mirpur 6, costing around Tk5,106 and Tk5,449, respectively. Surprisingly, the average square feet price of flats in two Metro Rail station zones has increased to more than those of Mirpur 10 and Mirpur 2, with Mirpur 6 not far ahead in terms of value. The areas in question are Pallabi and Shewrapara.
Neither Pallabi nor Shewrapara have been the focal point when it came to home buying in Mirpur. Both locations have always seen a steady stream of housing development, but nothing on a massive scale. But the undergoing construction of MRT Line 6 has generated an unprecedented interest and price growth.
As a result, the current average square feet price of flats in Pallabi is about Tk5,230 with average square feet price being Tk4,807 and Tk5,298 for East and West Shewrapara, respectively.
The rest of the four areas have also seen their apartments’ square feet prices rise after the construction of the Metro Rail project started. And the best part is, the project is just halfway complete. So the prices of these station zones are expected to rise even further in the coming days.
Another factor that often follows projects such as the Metro Rail is facility developments. For most of its history, Mirpur grew organically, leaving very little room for the planned development of amenities and facilities.
But with the approaching completion of MRT Line 6, much of the real estate in those station zones will undoubtedly be revamped. New commercial centres, restaurants, shops, entertainment zones and shopping malls will arise.
While it might be difficult to imagine even more growth taking place in Mirpur right now, it is to be expected in the very near future. And you also need to keep in mind that there is yet another Metro Rail project, MRT 5, being constructed soon that will have stations in Mirpur. It will directly connect several new zones to Mirpur, including Baridhara, Gulshan, Banani and the greater Savar area.
Mirpur had been slowly developing as a residential area for the middle and lower-middle-class since the 1990s, and that development skyrocketed at the turn of the century, bringing with it a promising future.
Yet, some parts, such as Rupnagar, are still considered as growing areas, creating a great opportunity to invest in real estate because, today, it is one of the most rapidly growing – both in terms of development and popularity – areas in the entire city.
And as we end a decade and embark on to another, the promise of growth and connectivity that Mirpur once had seems to be renewed and rejuvenated. The future of Mirpur is bright.