In the past and for a long time, there was a strong belief in India that hill station properties can be owned and enjoyed by elites only.
Earlier most of the Indian kings use to spend the summers in the hill stations. Later the British discovered most of the hill stations in India including Ooty, Coonoor, Shimla, Nainital, Darjeeling, Mussoorie, Dehradun, etc, and developed them for their own benefits to retreat from the searing summer heat, escape from tropical disease and socialize, but discouraged or restricted the entry of Indians in certain hill station areas. For example,Indians were restricted from using the major thoroughfares in Shimlaespecially the famous Mall area. These scenarios of discriminationjustified such belief.
Why it was Affordable to the Elites Alone in the Past?
- The road infrastructure to reach a hill station was poor in those days and there was no public transport(prior to the British laying the rail lines and roads) which means those who had the facility like horses / carts pulled by horses and guides to show the routes can afford to reach the hill station.
- Due to the longer travel time taken to reach a hill station from the foot hill and come back to the plains, only those who can afford to stay for a considerable time on the hill station leaving their business at plains alone can think of it.
- Owing to almost nil tourist flow on those days, there was no lodging facility in the hill stations for a common man to visit it and stay there for a short time to enjoy the nature and climate. This means those who own a property in a hill station or their guests can alone have their stay in a hill station. Beyond doubt only the elites could own a property in a hill station and maintain it.
- Absence of electrification meant only the elites with adequate manpower to serve them alone can afford to stay there.
- Low inhabitation or very less population density and lack of safety means, the wild animal threat was enormous on those days at the hill stations and elites who are equipped to protect them alone can stay there
The scientific and social developments down the line transformed the hill station real estate. This happened in three phases
Hill Station Real Estate Transformationin British Era
Type of Development at Hill Stations: The British developed the road infrastructures and rail links (like the Mountain railways in The Nilgiris, Shimla and Darjeeling) for safe and quick transportation to hill stations. They also developed the basic infrastructure in the hill stations like the markets, educational institutions, hotels, churches, clubs, race courses, boat clubs, etc for their safe living and recreation in addition to military cantonments at strategic locations.
Motive for Hill Station Development: British had a tough time with the hot Indian weather at plains and the related diseases it bought on those days. They started developing the hill stations as sanitariums for their army to take rest and recover from their illness, for their families to live in a comfortable climate and kids to study and socialize among themselves in a luxurious way.
Type of Hill Station Real Estate Transformation: It laid the pathway for the high net worth individuals (HNI) of India to use these public transport systems to reach the hill stations, stay in the hotels built there and explore the hill stations to source a property for their own. Their main intention to own a property in the hill station was to enjoy the elite life style, develop relationship with the British and demonstrate their social status to their friends and relatives.
This is how the real estate in the hill station actually started and it can be called as the initial phase of real estate transformation in the hill stations.
Hill Station Real Estate Transformation after Independence
Type of Development at Hill Stations: After the independence, Government of India carried forward the infrastructure developments in hill stations from the place where the British left. This phase of development involves establishment of residential projects, tourist spots, hospitals, agriculture facilities, banks, etc
Motive for Hill Station Development: The motive of this development was to increase the tourism in the hill stations and thereby develop the backward hill region’s economy.
Type of Hill Station Real Estate Transformation: This led to migration of many citizens of India to the hill stations to make use of the business / job opportunities that were newly created. Due to which, the population in the hill stations started building up and led to increased need for residential and commercial spaces. The business people across boundaries started buying agriculture lands in the hill stations and consolidated them into estates and big orchards understanding the ever green revenue from them. This is how the real estate in the hill station started growing and became affordable to next layer of society and can be called as next phase of real estate transformation in the hill stations.
Hill Station Real Estate Transformation in Digital Era
Before the arrival of online property portals, the common man did not have any clue about the property price in hill stations and they used to believe that it would be much higher than that of the cities at plains. The common man did not have much opportunity to get connected with real estate agents in the hill stations to explore its real estate. But the habit among Indian middle class travelling to hill stations for vacations started increasing due to the changes in socio-economical factors during which the mesmerizing beauty of the hill stations, its clean environment and peaceful lifestyle induced the interest among most them to own a property in hill stations.
Upon arrival of online real estate portals after 2000, the common man is not only able to see the property price in the hill stations but able to compare its price with the cities where they live in plains and understand the affordable hill station property prices. In addition they are able to visualize the beauty of such properties amidst nature through its photos and videos on the digital platform which motivates many to own their dream property in hill stations without doubt.
Arrival of the specialty property portal like hillsandwills.com exclusively for hill stations, made it easy for the hill property owners to post property Ad for free, reach the hill property buying interest peoples in a targeted way, find genuine buyers and sell property online fast. On the other hand, the hill property buyers got the freedom to compare the real estate trend among hill stations, choose the hill station, select a property matching to their dream from the largest collection of properties in a specific hill station, get connected to the sellers and buy property in hill station in just few clicks be it a independent house, villa, farm house, apartment, plot, agriculture land, estate, orchid or commercial property whether it is in Ooty, Munnar, Kodaikanal, Wayanad, Yercaud, Shimla, Panchgani, Darjeeling, Nainital, Lonavala, Chikmagalur, Valparai, Siliguri, Mussoorie, Kullu Manali, Nandi Hills, Kolli hills, Solan, Yelagiri or any other hill station. Not many countries have such specific real estate portals for hill stations. It is the ultimate transformation of hill station real estate in India.
Now hill station properties are affordable to anyone!
At present,owning a hill station property is considered as an essential investment than the social status enhancement factor in the past due to the recent pandemic and need of social distancing life style!!
So, now Indian hill station real estate is at its peak!!!