With the Ram Mandir’s inauguration in Ayodhya fast approaching, the once ‘sleepy town’ is experiencing a real estate boom. Real estate brokers say that with several investors from across the country and even overseas chasing fewer land parcels, land prices have hit the roof—in some cases four to 10 times the prices prevalent only four to five years ago.
The Ayodhya airport, which will be Uttar Pradesh’s fifth international one after the airports in Lucknow, Varanasi, Noida (under construction) and Kushinagar, is also expected to be inaugurated soon. The first phase of the airport terminal building spans 8000 sq metre area. At present, the entire airport covers 336.59 acres and is being developed at a cost of ₹250 crore.
Real estate market in Ayodhya
Several townships and private hotels are expected to come up in the city, land for which has been sanctioned by the government. These land parcels are located around Chaudah Kosi Parikrama, Ring Road, and the Lucknow-Gorakhpur Highway. The Ayodhya Development Authority is planning to come up with a housing scheme by the end of this month. “This will be a plotted scheme spread across 80 acres of land.
Almost 95 percent land has been acquired. This will be located along the Lucknow-Gorakhpur highway,” Satyendra Singh, secretary, Ayodhya Development Authority, told Hindustan Times Digital. In the span of three years after the foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the date for the consecration ceremony of Ayodhya’s Ram Temple has been scheduled for January 22, 2024.
The construction kicked off on August 5, 2020, after Modi laid down the foundation stone of the temple. As the inauguration date approaches, real estate prices have skyrocketed after massive infrastructure development in the town. Ayodhya has topped Uttar Pradesh’s revenue collection for November in terms of collection from land registration, according to some media reports.
Between April and November this year, as many as 30,000 sale deeds were registered in Ayodhya, 80 percent of which were from land transactions. The House of Abhinandan Lodha (HOABL), a Mumbai-based real estate developer plans to launch a 25-acre plotted development project in Ayodhya after the inauguration of the temple. The project is located almost 15 minutes from the upcoming temple.
The real estate boom has attracted investors from across the country and non-resident Indians as well, said brokers. According to Parasuram Mishra, a broker at Shri Balaji Ayodhya Property, prices of land within a radius of 5-10 km of the temple have increased much more. The rates range from ₹2000 per sq ft to as high as ₹18,000 per sq ft. Commercial plots start at around ₹4000 per sq ft depending on the location. Different plot sizes are available in these areas. The prices were almost one-fourth before the 2019 Supreme Court judgment that paved the way for the construction of the temple.
Today, the demand is much more than supply as limited land is available. “Land prices have hit the roof making it unaffordable in some pockets,” he said. To cite an example, the price of 1350 sq ft of land (one biswa in local parlance) that was available for around a few lakhs is now going for more than ₹60 lakh, he added.
Developers may launch projects after the inauguration.
While several developers have bought land, many would wait for the inauguration of the temple and only after getting a sense of the number of footfalls may take a decision regarding launching the product mix, explains Shobhit Mohan Dass, president, Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (Credai), UP Chapter.
“Besides hotels, one could witness senior living and service apartment formats come up in the city months after the inauguration of the temple. Everything will depend on the footfalls and the demand post the launch,” he said, adding most of these projects are expected to come up along the highway. Agrees Shobhik Goyyal, vice president, Credai, Uttar Pradesh Chapter. “Land prices have gone up by 10 times compared to 2019 in some pockets in the run-up to the inauguration of the temple. While developers have evinced interest to buy land, some are waiting for infrastructure to develop. They may take a decision post the launch after they get a sense of footfalls that the temple town receives,” he said.
Lakhs of visitors are expected to visit the temple city for the inauguration and post the event. Several developers are investing in hotels and residential projects hoping that the population in the city will increase by 2031. They are anticipating that several senior citizens may purchase second homes in the city.
Retirees or NRIs, who may wish to spend a few months at the birthplace of Ram, will be among top property buyers in the town. Ayodhya has the potential to emerge as an ideal market for second homes or retirement homes. Several developers have launched projects in holy cities such as Haridwar-Rishikesh, Puri, Madurai and Rameswaram.
Goyyal’s company has already bought a 18-acre land parcel in Ayodhya along the highway and is contemplating launching both studios and 2 BHK units in the area but “will take a call on the configuration after a year of the inauguration. By then we will get a sense of what the consumers/homebuyers requirements are,” he told HT Digital.
Manoj Gaur, chairman of CREDAI National, is of the view that the government should bring in residential schemes at competitive prices. “Lands with clean titles should be made available for private developers so that more developers come forward to buy land. Currently, land records are a challenge. In some areas commercial plot schemes have been floated at exorbitant rates,” he said.