Hunting for a house in Shimla


By: Varun

What happens when at 27 your yet-to-be father-in-law expects you to own a house? If in love, you obviously get into ‘search mode’ to find one that not only suits your needs but also matches the expectations of your would-be and her extended family. And that’s when you realise love in the times of ‘property boom’ is no heartening scenario. I only realised it seeing a friend huffing and puffing up and down the Shima hills as he went around seeking a suitable property.

It has been six months since he started, and now it seems only a great ‘meltdown’ can come to his rescues. Such is the indifference of this once regal town, now coming down under its own weight. Or has my friend been a victim of his own expectations and not the steep climes he does daily, hunting for a house?

It may well be both. As usual, his search for a house began with newspaper advertisements, which, surprisingly, are rare in Shimla. Thanks to some localised Hindi newspapers, one does find few advertisements here and there, but what follows after that can shatter any determined soul. Calls made to property owners or ‘dealers’ can leave you quite bewildered as well as short of breath. The polite but uncomforting voice from the other end truly gives a deep insight into the ‘reality business’.

So while a 3-bedroom flat in New Shimla will be offered for Rs 26 lakh, a flat scheme claimed to be 10 minutes drive from the Mall Road starts at Rs 30 lakh, and here I must mention that vehicles cannot be taken to the Mall by one and all. A godforsaken one-room flat at the far end of the housing board colony in Kelston starts at Rs 7 lakh. This is the same price at which the owner bought the flat few years back, he claims. A quick check with HIMUDA, the government agency, surprises you even more. Their flats in Kasumpti region start at Rs 35 lakh. And someone told me that’s the amount being charged for a decent two-bedroom accommodation in Chandigarh, supposedly the most expensive city in north India. The real charm of living in Shimla is of course when you have a property right near the Mall Road. However, the last advertisement which I happened to see on an online property website quoted a price of more than a crore for a property near the mall.

If finding land or a flat with few hours of sunshine is not enough of a challenge, then dealing with property dealers certainly is. The major issue in finding the right property in Shimla is that there is no proper mechanism of price discovery. A property dealer remarked that one will get the best deal if property dealers are not involved. If a property dealer gets to hear of a deal which does not involve them they will ensure that the seller jacks up the price beyond the buyer’s capacity and the deals would never materialize, it is said. There are properties around the town which are waiting to be sold but the prices are too inflated. The haunted houses of Shimla are certainly growing in numbers, it may appear.

By the end of all this, one starts wondering is Shimla worth a place to shell out prices equivalent to housing schemes in say Faridabad, Ghaziabad, or any other property hub in the NCR region? After all, Shimla beyond the Mall Road is just a heap of garbage, most of it sinking under its own weight, dust looms large in the air belittling the town which is the capital of one of greenest states in the country. My friend, of course, by now is a split personality, especially after he saw long queues of people lined up at a SBI branch in Shimla to file applications for a DDA-launched housing scheme in Delhi.

Is the ‘Sankatmochan’ listening?

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  1. Absolutely Varun! Very difficult to own a love nest 🙂 in Shimla. I feel Shimla is not the right place to invest in property now with the city’s resources being pulled to extremes. As you rightly said, Shimla is a heap of garbage and a next fit case to be the plague city of India.

    Think of Solan as a place to invest in property. An hour’s drive from Shimla, moderate temprature, proximity to both Shimla and Chandigarh.

    Something I found about rising real estate prices around the country

    • yes shimla is definitely not theright place to invest in property. it has already come to end with limitd place. while buildings are very high rise. moreover this region is very earth quake porn area.. allthe buildings are nt properly designd with earth quake point of view and houses are build one on another.. so it very risky to go for shimla.. yes solan and chandigarh is best place to invest.

  2. Isn't the 'prospective' father in law expecting or 'demanding' too much ? For a common man even full life's savings are not enough to purchase a house in Shimla or anywhere in urban area for that matter.

  3. really interesting post. I had visited simla around an year back and the mall road felt like a heaven. I have been dreaming about settling around that place, but did not know that the prices are so high.

  4. Well to straighten a few facts.

    1. Shimla is in the same Seismic Zone as Solan, Chandigarh and Delhi. Check the Indian Seismic map for that matter.

    2. Every city in India is bursting around its seams, Shimla being no exception.

    3. Most of the old cities in India are in a bad shape. But people all over the world visit such places. Nobody visits Panchkula, or Mohali or Dwarka in Delhi for tourism.

    4. MC Shimla was the first local body to ban the use of Polythene, First Smoke free city in India(you will be fined Rs. 500 for smoking and spitting on The Mall Road. MC Shimla building bylaws mandate the use of Solar reflective glass for south facing windows, Solar water heating systems are compulsory, Ext. Wall have to be 9″ thick, Water harvesting is compulsory. Many of these condition are a first in India.

    A few more condition and buildings in Shimla would easily certify for LEEDS(Green Buildings)

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