Buying Real Estate in Leh Ladakh
My new friend on Facebook, who read my travel articles there, asked me:
How do you buy real estate in Leh Ladakh? ...[D]o you have any advice about buying land or an already-constructed flat or house or villa in Leh? What papers are required, and is there a finance scheme or bank loan available? I would love to own a house on this land as it is so beautiful, plus it will serve as my holiday home when I am there. Would it be a good investment property for long-term gains?
So I answered him: “Who would not love to own a house or a piece of land in this beautiful place, it’s like buying real estate in heaven. Isn’t it?" But unfortunately I had to tell him that the State of Jammu and Kashmir, where Leh Ladakh is located, is under a special act, and only people with a domicile in J&K can legitimately buy, sell, or own property in this region.
Under Article 370, residents of Jammu and Kashmir can buy real estate anywhere in India without any difficulties and J&K is the only state in India which has had this article implemented since 1951 by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. But unfortunately, residents of other states or countries cannot buy real estate. They cannot buy agricultural land there even if they are farmers.
The only way to buy property in Leh Ladakh is in the name of a local.
I do know of a few people, even foreigners, who have bought real estate in Leh in the name of locals, and run it as a guest house for years and also used it as a holiday home. It is a win-win situation for both. I have heard of even boat houses, on Dal Lake in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, having been bought in this way.
In nearby Himachal Pradesh, one can buy property which is residential in nature but not agricultural land. This means that in H.P., you can buy any property which lies within the municipal limits of the town, but not property outside it.
Under special conditions, one can buy up to 500 square yards of agricultural land in H.P., but the process is very lengthy and requires knowing the right people and having the right amount of money. This is the reason why in J&K people mostly lease real estate from the locals.
This year when I went to Manali near Leh with my friends, we met a lawyer in Manali. One of our friends took a small hotel on lease in Manali. The lawyer told us one could buy agricultural land in HP if he/she is an ex-servicemen or a senior citizen farmer, and Himachal is still on the loose side, but buying real estate in Leh Ladakh directly is not possible; it can only be done via a local.