Real Estate: An Endeavour Worth Undertaking In Kashmir

Real Estate: An Endeavour Worth Undertaking In Kashmir

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Tasneem Kabir                                                                Undertaking

Real estate is a property or a collection of properties and structures associated with them. There are primarily three types of real estate properties: Commercial, Residential and Agricultural.

A company that sells, or rents plots, houses, apartments, commercial buildings is doing Real Estate Business. Real estate is one of the most important sectors in the economy. The affordability of real estate and rental prices and changes in those prices have a direct impact on the wealth of property owners and tenants and their consumer spending.

Say, the prices of housing were to go up, house owners would be better off, witnessing an increase in their purchasing power and feel more confident.

Some people will borrow more against the value of their home, either to spend on goods and services, renovate their house, supplement their pension, or pay off other debt. However, when house prices go down, homeowners realize that their house will be worth less than their outstanding mortgage, for example.  People are therefore more likely to cut down on spending and hold off from making personal investments. Thus, the real estate industry manages to affect each and every one of our lives.

 

By packaging properties and related economic activities into a whole, an organized business sector called the Real Estate Business has become something of a widespread, widely accepted global phenomenon, with almost every well-to-do nation harnessing this business as an integral part of the economy.

 

One doesn’t have to look too far, for here in India; real estate is the second largest employer after agriculture and is slated to grow at 30 per cent over the next decade. It is also expected that this sector will incur more non-resident Indian (NRI) investments in both the short term and the long term.

Bengaluru is expected to be the most favoured property investment destination for NRIs, followed by Ahmedabad, Pune, Chennai, Goa, Delhi and Dehradun.

 

India’s rank in the Global House Price Index has jumped 13 spots to reach the ninth position among 55 international markets.

Property-related activities are highly diverse and involve besides property management also planning, financing and construction activities, valuation, facilities management as well as consultation or brokerage services. The real estate sector has a higher economic importance than a lot of other sectors such as the automotive industry, largely due to the vast scope of employment opportunities it brings along in addition to its immense contribution in advancement of infrastructure.

 

Unfortunately, the polls and statistics do not speak for individual states. The state of Jammu and Kashmir, according to a Government of India report, is the fifth largest Indian state in terms of area, and comparable in the same to the African country of Guyana!

 

That said, despite the large area in the state, we see that the Real Estate Industry is not a completely organized one and that its potential remains largely unharnessed here.

 

There are both causes and consequences to the current, pathetic state of this particular sector in Kashmir.

When we sit down to analyse the causes, the beacons of real estate business are potential investors, and owing to the continual eruption of political unrest in Kashmir, willing investors are nothing but shooed off. Further, the seasonal variations, especially the dipping mercury in the last parts of the year, hinder major infrastructural growth due to a reduced period of efficient labour. Interestingly enough, there was an unofficial poll conducted by a group of students from Kashmir University earlier this year, where they asked people whether they would want for further expansion of infrastructure and commercial complexes in Kashmir or stick to the existing amount and level of urban infrastructure.

Surprisingly enough, 73% of the people voted for sticking to the status quo, claiming that Kashmir was doing well enough already! With the average citizen thinking thus, one sees no opportunity for a surge or boom in real estate businesses any time soon. Moreover, record has it that prior to the September 2014 floods, real estate development and infrastructure were picking up pace, all for only crashing with the floods that bathed the valley in losses.

Post the flooding; the pace of the said business seems stagnant.

Keeping with the paradigm of cause-and-effect, consequences of a primitive Real Estate Sector have brought to the surface myriad problems in Kashmir. With a lot of fertile, agriculturally viable properties located in the problematic, often strike-bound and unapproachable areas of South Kashmir, its value and worth remains untapped without appropriate instalment of equipment. In addition, the Real Estate scenario, like any unorganized sector, lacks a central authority overlooking it and hence paves way for an easy path to corruption and fraudulent transactional activities.

Besides, with no one to categorize land into the three broad categories of Real Estate viz. Commercial, Residential and Agricultural, Kashmir has seen a rapid surge in misplaced constructions, with utterly fertile lands used to create housing colonies and barren lands left to the mercy of nature. Some analysts even attributed the September 2014 floods to this haphazard pattern of building.

 

All in all, in a place as large as Kashmir, enormous lucrativeness can come in to fortify the economy with the development, organization and integration of the Real Estate Business. This is reason enough to call this endeavour a task worth undertaking.

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