Ahmedabad to host first property show for Muslims

In a city where housing options are starkly divided along religious lines, a web portal is organising here what it calls “India’s first Muslim property show” on October 19-21 to tap into the minority community’s investment potential.
The portal, which has a network of 12,000-odd Muslim businessmen in Gujarat offering various services, will hold the event at Sanskar Kendra in Paldi, the first such event that attempts to bring developers, buyers and investors from the Muslim community on a common platform.
“During the last two years, we conducted a few surveys which showed that some communities, especially Muslims, were not able to acquire property in certain areas of the city. This prompted us to showcase the untapped potential of Muslim buyers through this property show,” says Ali Hussain Mohammed, director of Ummat that operates the dedicated portal and a dedicated call centre in Hindu-dominated Satellite locality.
“There are a number of good buyers and investors, including Muslim NRIs who are keen to invest in Ahmedabad’s property market. Our aim is to bring together developers and the buyers on the same platform,” he told The Indian Express.
Around 25 developers have already confirmed their participation. These include Deep Builders and Sun Infrastructure, which largely operate in Hindu-dominated areas. Both the realty firms, run by Hindus, are offering houses to the minority community.
While most of the projects that are expected to go on display at the event are located in the minority-dominated Juhapura-Sarkhej locality, residential, commercial and plotting projects in Dholera SIR, Vatva, Paldi and Vishala Circle (Vasna) areas will also be displayed.
“It was a constant and burning demand from the Muslim community to arrange a kind of show where a wide range of options are available under one roof. There was a lack of awareness even among the local Muslim buyers about the housing options available for the community. Moreover, a number of educated youths and businessmen migrating to Ahmedabad were finding it difficult to find homes. This inspired us to host the event,” Ali said.
Asked if the property show was being held as an alternative to the one organised by GIHED (Gujarat Institute of Housing and Estate Developers), which recently concluded a three-day property show on Sunday, Ali said, “No, it is not so. Even some of the GIHED members like Deep Builders are participating in this event. But because most Muslim builders are not part of GIHED, we decided to bring them together.”
“A property show targeting one particularly community has not been held even in metros in the recent past. In a city where a large number of real estate projects do not entertain the minority community members, such a show will go a long way in tapping into the potential of a community that has become affluent and has aspirations for a better lifestyle,” said Nirav Kothary of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), an international property consultant operating in Gujarat.
The community divide and ghettoisation that exist in Ahmedabad is not a new phenomenon. US-based historian Howard Spodek, in his latest book ‘Ahmedabad: Shock city of Twentieth-Century India’, describes the social scene as: “..Hindus and Muslims no longer lived in the same neighbourhoods. Each has withdrawn into its own community ghettos. In many neighbourhoods, they referred to the streets that divided the area of one community from the other as borders, and the communities themselves as India and Pakistan.”
According to the Taiyyaba Group, which promotes real estate projects for the minority community in Sarkhej, Juhapura and Paldi areas of the city, projects by Muslim developers have a lot of investment potential even for investors from the majority community.
“The city is already divided (on religious lines). So certain people choose to live in certain parts of the city. However, we have a lot of investors in our project who are non-Muslims. We give them good returns,” says Sameer Memon of Taiyyaba Group, which will display an affordable housing project at the event that sells a flat for Rs 9 lakh.
According to real estate experts, ghettoisation has also pushed the prices of housing projects in minority-dominated areas. In some places, the prices are as high as 3,500-4,000 per square feet, which is almost double the prices that exist in locations inhabited by the majority community with similar earnings.

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