Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Architecture of Summer Olympic Games 2012

On July 27, 2012 London will become the only city in the world to host the Summer Olympic Games 2012 three times. And for the spectators, the thrill of competition will be set against the backdrop of some of the most experimental and expensive architecture in the world.
Most of the events will take place at the Summer Olympic Games 2012 Village Park in Stafford, London (for more information, read our Real Estate Review). The park houses the Olympic Stadium, the London Aquatic Center and the Olympic Village, which are all within walking distance of each other.
The Olympic Stadium, constructed at a cost of 486 million pounds, is designed by populous, one of the world's leading sports facility design firms. The stadium is an architectural marvel; shaped like a bowl, its elliptical geometry blends in effortlessly with the slopping geography of the site it is constructed upon. The Stadium will undoubtedly be the centerpiece of the Olympic since the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the track and field events, will take place there.
The highlight of design at the Olympics is undoubtedly the London Aquatics Center. Built at a cost of 269 million pounds, it is designed by famed architect Zaha Hadid, and is "inspired by the fluid geometry of water in motion";in essence, the structure resembles a wave with wings. Resplendent in its de-constructivist elegance, with solid feminine lines that dominate its facades, the fluid design of the Aquatics Center is perfect for a venue dedicated to water sports.
The athletes participating at the Summer Olympics 2012 will reside at the purpose build Olympic Village which cost 1.1 billion pounds to construct. In contrast to the flowing design of the Aquatics Center, the Village has a distinct modernist design; the concrete and cuboid shaped buildings employ strong vertical and horizontal lines, stressing functionality rather than form. The Village is complemented by extensive landscaping, with gardens aflame with cornflowers and marigolds.
It is safe to say that for thousands of spectators who will witness the Summer Olympic Games 2012 first hand the Olympic Village Park with all its architectural wonders will be a sight to remember.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Impact of Budget on Pakistan's Real Estate Market

The federal budget 2012-13 came into effect on July 1, and has certain implications for property purchasers and sellers, especially in regard to property taxes.
These include:
1. Capital Gain Tax (CGT)
  • CGT has been re-introduced in Pakistan after a passage of 26 years; it was lifted in 1986.
  • CGT is imposed on residential and commercial property owners who are reselling a property within two years of purchasing it. It is payable at the time of selling a property.
  • CGT is calculated as a percentage of the increase in the value of a property in a given period; 10% CGT will be applied on property that is being resold within one year; five percent CGT will be applied on property that is being resold within two years.
2. The collctor Rate (CR)
  • The CR is official value of the property and is decided by the Government; it is used to determine the value of several property taxes including Capital Value Tax, Registration Fee and Stamping Fee.
  • The CRs remain have not changed this year and vary according to where the property is located.
3. Capital Value Tax (CVT)
  • CVT is payable to the Government when a property is purchased; it has not changed this year.
  • CVT is determined as a percentage of the Collector Rate; it varies according to the type of property. The details are as follows:
Plot Size (sq yds)                                CVT
Less than 100                                      0%
100-500                                              2%
More than 500                                     2.5%

Covered Area (sq ft)                            CVT
Less than 1,000                                    0%
1,000-2,200                                         2%
More than 2,200                                   2.5%

Commercial Property
Covered Area (Sq ft)                          CVT
All sizes                                                2.5%

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Apartment Design Checklist

An increasing number of people are opting to live in apartments because compared to independent houses, they are relatively easier to maintain and are more secure.
However, there are a few factors to keep in mind when choosing an apartment with regard to structure and design, especially if you intend to sell it a later stage. Good infrastructure for the entire complex and a well planned architectural layout increases value, while substandard construction, poor architectural design and finish decrease the value by five to 15%
Here are a few things to look out for when purchasing an apartment:
  • Facades should be completed using high quality material such as stone or brick. Not only are these materials aesthetically pleasing, they require less maintenance.
  • Parking space much be allocated to each apartment within the complex; parking space should ideally be covered. There should also be provisions to accommodate additional cars for guests.
  • Separate entry and exit gates should be in place to manage traffic flow and keep the complex uncongested.
  • Avoid apartment complexes built parallel to each other; this will compromise your privacy. Opt for complexes built in a circular or oval shape; they provide more privacy.
  • Staircases should face the east to allow maximum sunlight; they should be at least three feet wide, separate service/ emergency staircases are ideal
  • Windows, especially those in bathrooms and kitchens, should allow maximum sunlight and ventilation.
  • Balconies and terraces should be strategically positioned; large balconies near living areas can extend entertainment space, while those near the kitchen can be used as laundry space or for growing plants.
  • Interior spaces should provide space saving, built-in-storage space
  • Fixtures and fittings should of good quality.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Real Estate Blockbusters

With the summer here, people across the world are thronging to movie theaters to escape the heart, and of course, enjoy the blockbusters that are playing, which recently included the superhero epic, The Avengers, that grossed more than a billion dollars worldwide and drew in the crowds in Pakistan as well. And with the forthcoming superhero films, namely the Spider-Man reboot and The Dark Knight Rises, the chances are that people will continue heading to the cinemas in full force.
Consequently, the number of beverage and refreshment outlets within cinema lobbies has increased. These spaces continue to be in high demand, primarily because there's nothing better than watching an action packed movie armed with a bag of popcorn pr a generous serving of nachos and cheese.
Here is a detailed look at outlets located on cinema premises:
  • Every theater/multiplex usually has about five to 10 refreshment outlets; these are owned by the cinema and are available for rent by vendors.
  • The covered area of outlets ranges between 15 and 64 square feet.
  • Rental rates range between Rs. 2,500 and 3,000 per square foot. This rate is 10 to 20% higher than rates for similar spaces in malls and commercial areas.
  • Most rental contracts are signed for periods ranging between one and three years and are subject to renewal thereafter. Two to three months' rent is usually required as a security deposit.
  • Maintenance and security are usually part of monthly rental; facilities include provision of water, gas and electricity.
  • Until recently, most cinema outlets only sold snacks and beverages. However, with the cinema going culture picking up, these outlets are now being rented for diverse businesses; an increasing number of movie souvenirs/merchandise stalls are cropping up while other vendors are capitalizing on the young clientele and have set up gaming arcades.