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War torn Kabul sees property prices soar 75% in the last 12 months

According to local estate agents prices in some parts of Kabul have risen by 75% in the past year.

Part of this is due to the fact that international agencies are willing to pay to acquire properties in the best locations but also wealthy Afghans are buying again having had their fingers burned in badly hit real estate markets such as Dubai.

The property market has few controls and indeed, it is likely that a lot of money used to buy real estate comes from the illegal drug trade, but enough people are investing to create a demand.

One person who knows the market well is Richard Scarth, who was a naval reservist in London when he was posted to Afghanistan five years ago.

He was the only qualified chartered surveyor in the country and began his own company, Property Consulting, dealing with the buying and leasing of real estate.
‘Most people in the know, know who owns what and where.

Sometimes there is danger but a lot of it is just a question of being in the wrong place at the wrong time,’ he told the BBC.

He explained that generally day-to-day life in Kabul remains relatively unaffected despite the global downturn.

‘That is because the economy is United Nations driven.

Money just keeps coming in regardless of what is happening in the wider world,’ he added.

The company also provides management services for real estate investors and serviced offices.

Its website is in both English and Arabic and it is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

According to the constitution only Afghans can own property so a foreign investor has to buy through a local partner.

Scarth has trained local staff to help run the business and believes more should be done to help local people start businesses connected to the industry.

The majority of Afghans living in Kabul arrive from neighbouring provinces and areas where there is insecurity.

With a population of three million, the city does not have the capacity to absorb them which, in turn, increases the prices for every property.
A four bedroom house will often cost around $10,000 or more a month to rent and about $500,000 to buy.