Srinagar: Mujeeb Ahmad (33) had pumped his entire saving into the real estate business after quitting a corporate job in New Delhi a few years back.
The first few years of business were very good. It encouraged Mujeeb to expand his business by borrowing loans from banks. “The last three years didn’t go well. The real estate market is in dire straits and small fry like me has been the worst affected,” he said.
Mujeeb said that he rarely got a client or sold a plot in the last three years. “Earlier I would sell at least three plots a month. Simultaneously work would continue on construction of new residential flats or houses,” he said.
Mujeeb is not alone in this sinking ship. Imran Ahmad too has failed to get customers or fresh deals for residential flats he constructed.
“The situation of this business is not as it used to be a few years ago. Many of us have switched to other options. People now fear to invest in this sector,” he said.
Realtors said business has dropped by more than 50 percent due to the COVID-19, even as land prices have gone through the roof.
“We have witnessed a series of lockdowns. It has affected the purchasing power of people. Our business has gone down by 50 percent in last three years,” said Talib Farooq, owner of Prop Experts JK, a leading real estate company, which has outlets in New Delhi and Dubai.
He said the scrapping Darbar Move has increased their woes. “The demand for residential plots in Jammu too has got affected. The condition of real estate in J&K is very bad compared to New Delhi and other states,” Talib said.
He said ever-increasing land prices have contributed to the fall in demand. “Rates have gone up extremely high in Kashmir. A plot of one kanal which would cost Rs 2 crore earlier is being sold at Rs 4 crore. Post-2019 land prices have spiraled in many areas of Srinagar,” he said.
Real estate dealers said the fall in their business had cascading effects on many other sectors in Kashmir. “It is not just a real estate agent but many industries are connected with it. Currently, the suppliers of cement, iron, and other construction material too are suffering,” Mushtaq Ahmad, a senior real estate agent said.