Improving Karachi’s Metropolitan Living Environment through Strengthening Housing Sector Activities – Case Study of Karachi

In the 1980’s Karachi received a large number of refugees from Afghanistan and Iran. There are no definitive figures available but newspaper reports suggest a figure of over 400,000. Most of the Afghans belonged to the lower-middle-income group and settled in West Karachi’s Baldia township. The poorer Afghans settled in extensions to West karachi’s existed squatter settlements. In both cases their demand for land raised real estate prices in these areas by well over 20 to 25 percent. The Iranis belonged the middle and upper-middle-income groups and settled mostly in the old city center, where Iranis have lived for many generations. Since their migration was small, no major change in real estate prices took place though rents in the city centre, for residential accommodation, increased as a result.

Contrary to official belief, it is felt that migration could not have decreased to Karachi and nor is it likely to do so in the future. The reason is that in the rural areas land and produce per capita is falling rapidly and the share of the services sector in profits from agricultural production is increasing at the expense of the producer. This trend is not only likely to continue but increase in the future. In addition, Karachi remains the main centre of commercial and industrial activity in the country and country’s only port. Other urban job markets of the country are in the Punjab and cater exclusively to local needs.

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