… however, demand for land has dropped

Lhakpa Quendren | Gelephu

Price of land in Sarpang has risen significantly in the past two months. The surge is seen mainly within a 40-kilometer radius of Gelephu town along the Gelephu-Sarpang highway. 

In two months, the cost of the land in the area has jumped by 100 percent on average. According to residents, the current land price in Sarpang is the fastest price growth recorded.

The land that was selling at Nu 75,000 a decimal in Dekiling, and Gakiling gewogs in March now costs Nu 150,000 per decimal or even more depending on the location.

In Senggye gewog, the land price has increased from about Nu 30,000 to Nu 75,000 per decimal. And the land price within and around thromde is over Nu 200,000 a decimal and over Nu 65,000 a decimal in Umling.

The sudden spikes in land prices over the months have also created pricing inconsistencies for lands in the same location.

For instance, in Jigmeling, a landowner sells a 35-decimal plot at Nu 75,000 per decimal while another landowner in the same location wants to sell a 50-decimal plot at Nu 150,000 per decimal.

While it is not possible to tell the exact reasons for the fastest acceleration in prices, residents say, many landowners are selling at high prices due to a probable mega city project in Sarpang.

“The land prices in thromde and nearby gewogs have already increased due to high demand for residential land. But the double rise in land prices in other gewogs is probably due to city development plans,” a resident said.

Landowners in thromde and gewogs of Gelephu, Samteling, Dekiling, Gakiling, and Senggye, who talked to Kuensel, said they have witnessed a sharp increase in land sellers in their gewogs.

“Many think we would not be able to get the expected rate in the future. So lands are being sold at the best price compared to the government compensation rate,” said a land owner in Dekiling.

The government compensation rates for Sarpang ranges from Nu 2,767.33 to Nu 47,044.80 per decimal for dry land (Kamzhing), Nu 2,490.60 to Nu 16,465.68 per decimal for wetland (Chhuzhing), and Nu 3,804.58 to Nu 47,044.80 per decimal for orchard.

On the other hand, the immediate need for finance for the family is the most reason the land owners cited for selling lands.

The buyers, according to the landowners, are mostly the retired civil servants, and landlords including contractors, especially from Thimphu and Paro.

However, unlike in the past, the demand for land in Sarpang has significantly decreased. Landowners wanting to sell a portion of their land are facing difficulties in finding a buyer.

“I posted on social media the availability of land for sale two months ago. I have received several calls but they are reluctant to buy,” said a land owner who wants to sell a 35-decimal plot at Dekiling.

Another land owner said that both sellers and buyers are confused about land business. “My relative wanted to sell a 70 decimal plot at Dekiling, but later he changed his mind not to sell.”

A land buyer from Thimphu who bought a 30-decimal plot in Dekiling a month ago said that there would be more opportunities in Sarpang. He bought the land at Nu 95,000 per decimal.

One of the gups in Sarpang said that people should not worry about their lands. “Every development activity is in the best interest of the public. The local government is explaining to the people who come to ask.”

There are also landowners looking for a land exchange in other dzongkhags.

Kuensel learnt that some land buyers are declaring a low purchase rate to evade the land tax.

Meanwhile, except for the bamboo hut (bago), a construction moratorium in Sarpang was imposed for the construction of buildings and any shed using cement and concrete bricks.