“Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast, Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast” the famous couplet which means - If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here – predicts the age long beauty of the Kashmir valley, which now has become one of the most sensitive regions in the country.
Following the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A of the Constitution, the government on October 26 notified changes in the land laws of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, paving the way for non-residents to purchase land properties in the region.
But experts are of the view that the real estate activity in the region is unlikely to pick momentum soon.
The region's political parties see the government's decision as a move to change the demographics of the Muslim-majority former state. The central government says the step is a way to "fully integrate" the region into India. Following its annexation, Jammu & Kashmir enjoyed a significant degree of autonomy for decades, including barring those who were not its residents to buy property there. This provision, among others, were taken away last year when Articles 370 and 35A were annulled by the central government.
The turn of events mean that tensions in the violence- and militancy-affected region will remain high, meaning that serious investment interest in the region's property market will stay away.
“It is too early to predict how demand for real estate in J&K will pan out as it is still a sensitive region. It will take quite a bit of time for all ambiguities to clear. Even if some are keen to buy property there, they will first closely watch the political scene unfold in the future before taking the plunge,” said Prashant Thakur, Director & Head – Research, ANAROCK Property Consultants.
Sector experts believe that the hospitality sector in the region may grow faster than the residential real estate
“The region definitely has a large untapped potential in the hospitality segment. Unless safety is given paramount importance, it is difficult for real estate activity to pick momentum here,” Thakur added.
Experts believe investors will wait to invest in J&K’s real estate market and would like to see the situation in the Kashmir valley stabilize. The region continues to remain under lockdown and incidents of violence remain high.
According to ANAROCK, property prices in major areas of Jammu and Kashmir are fairly affordable. The price ranges anywhere between:
- Rs 2,200 per sq ft to Rs 4,000 per sq ft in Srinagar
- Rs 2,400 per sq ft to Rs 4,000 per sq ft in Jammu
- Rs 2,500 per sq ft to Rs 3,200 per sq ft in Baramula
But with investors likely to be in wait and watch mode, experts say prices are unlikely to see a significant uptick in the near future.