Buying property in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the least liveable city in the world

Buying property in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the least liveable city in the world
Buying property in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the least liveable city in the world

Dhaka in Bangladesh is the least liveable city in the world, according to The Economist. It’s not quite as unstable as some of the others in the list, but it’s dragged down by its astonishingly low healthcare and infrastructure rankings.

Property Observer has looked at the cities ranked six through 10, plus number  two, Port Moresby, Papua New Guineathree, Lagos, Nigeriafour, Harare, Zimbabwe and five, Algiers, Algeria.

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The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability Survey assesses the locations around the world that provide the best or the worst living conditions.

The survey doesn’t include the absolute worst of the worst, just cities or business centres that people might feasibly want to live in or visit. So it does not include cities like Kabul in Afghanistan or Baghdad in Iraq, both in the grip of conflict.

Conflict is generally found to be the primary reason for the position of the bottom ranked cities.

“Threat of armed conflict will not just cause disruption in its own right, it will also damage infrastructure, overburden hospitals, and undermine the availability of goods, services and  recreational activities,” the report says.

Africa and Asia are home to all 13 cities in the bottom tier, with violence from crime, civil insurgency, terrorism or war playing a strong role in keeping them at the bottom of the pack.

The Dhaka metropolitan area had a population of nearly 13 million people in 2008 and is the ninth largest city in the world. With increasing amounts of foreign investments in the city and a greater volume of commerce and trade, the city is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world.

The report finds the various threats to stability are either "uncomfortable" or "undesirable", though the threat of military conflict is "tolerable". The various healthcare indicators are either "intolerable" or "undesirable", though there is a "tolerable" level of private healthcare. The climate is "uncomfortable", as are the levels of cultural hardship and availability of consumer goods. The Economist even finds the food and drink to be "uncomfortable".

Private education is "tolerable", but the road and public transport networks are "intolerable". Utilities are "tolerable" at best. And tellingly, the availability of good-quality housing is undesirable. So what does that mean on the ground?

July study by the Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh found house and land prices in Dhaka have been rapidly rising since 2000.

For apartments the cheapest place to buy is in Mohammadpur, with a 2010 median price of $832 per square metre. The most expensive is in Baridhara at $3,700 per square metre. For land, Badda is the cheapest area, at $772 per square metre, while Baridhara is again the most expensive at $10,292 per square metre in 2010.

The figures don’t take into account black-market purchases.

“A good amount of undocumented money has been utilised in acquiring land, apartments, buildings, shops etc. in past few years,” the report says.

On one Bangladeshi property listing site, a three-bedroom, 247-square-metre apartment in Baridhara is being sold for approximately $558,400.

Nearby a three-bedroom, 278-square-metre apartment is being sold for approximately $977,852.

Alistair Walsh

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter

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