As the land moratorium in Gelephu continues, both the people and the real estate agents are expecting a significant rise in land prices once the restrictions on the sale and purchase of the lands are lifted. The moratorium on the sale/purchase of land and properties was imposed with effect from 14 July 2023.
People in Gelephu are hoping that the decision regarding the land moratorium might be finalized by 10 February. Meanwhile, the National Land Commission shared that they are going to review after February and the decision surrounding the land moratorium that was held on the sale/purchase of land/properties in Sarpang will depend on the final decisions taken after the review meeting discussion.
A major real estate agent speaking on the condition of anonymity said he expects doubling of land prices with the valuation being influenced by the futuristic plans for the mindfulness city.
Regarding the land valuations before mindfulness city speculations, the agent shared that the price of lands ranged from Nu 280,000 to Nu 320,000 in lands under UV3, Nu. 475,000 to Nu 500,000 in UV2 lands, and Nu 800,000 to Nu 1,000,000 in UV1 lands. He said this rate will double once the moratorium is lifted.
The agent also shared that they have a lot of clients interested in buying lands in Gelephu from abroad including business owners from Thimphu. They also highlighted the excitement among landowners in Gelephu town who own 4-5 acres of land and are eagerly waiting for the lifting of the land moratorium.
The moratorium was applied on sale/purchase transactions and not on any other type of transactions, and those that were already registered in the eSakor system before 14 July 2023, were allowed to proceed.
Nirupa Ghallay, CEO of Chundu Real Estate in Gelephu, shared that the businesses are currently down due to the land moratorium last year. Meanwhile, she said, “I am hopeful that the price will shoot up after the land moratorium is lifted.” Despite the current freeze, she highlighted the enthusiasm among her clients, particularly Bhutanese in Australia, who are in a queue to purchase lands in Gelephu. She added, “I have already looked for the land plots for my clients as per their requirements, and shared about the potential rise in land prices after the lifting of the land moratorium.”
Ganga Ram, a 56-year-old landowner in Gelephu within Thromde, expressed both excitement and concern regarding the yet-to-be-finalised airport area. He said, “If my lands do not fall under the airport plans, I am hopeful that the prices will rise to their peak.” He shared his concern about the lesser compensation in case the airport planning gets within his land. Reflecting on the time before the Gelephu city project gained attention, he shared that there was a substantial increase in land prices, attributing it to the return of Bhutanese from Australia and the involvement of land brokers. Despite many offers from people at that time, he refused to sell as land prices were rising rapidly.
He also specified that his land falls under Lap 3 of Gelephu Thromde, and during the peak, the price reached Nu 350,000 per decimal. Regarding the land valuation, he said, “The valuation of the land also depended on the grading of land such as UVs. UV1 would potentially have higher prices than UV2 or UV3 and UV4.” He is hopeful that it will double the existing land prices or even exceed the land prices compared to any other parts of Bhutan.
Another well-known real estate agent based in Gelephu shared that even before the rumors of a mega city, land prices in Gelephu were still rising well. One of the focal people of the agency mentioned their sales before the land moratorium and speculation of the city plan, was the sale of 4-5 plots per month.
Currently, due to the land moratorium imposed by the National Land Commission, no transactions are taking place in Gelephu.
Til Chandra, a landowner in Gelephu, shared his excitement about the anticipated increase in land prices upon the removal of the land moratorium. He said, “Few individuals from Thimphu and other dzongkhags have approached me and nearby landowners for deals to purchase lands once land transactions resume.” He believes that land prices may skyrocket after land transactions resume and as the projects start to play its role in the city.
He also shared that there was a bigger impact on the people of AI-generated artistic pictures that went viral on social media showing the futuristic city of Gelephu, featuring skyscrapers and modern infrastructure. He said, “People imagined a different city and there were rumors that people of Gelephu might be relocated to different areas which forced many people to explore lands in Tsirang.” He said that this contributed to an increase in land prices, particularly in the nearby dzongkhag of Tsirang.