Many investors over the last few years have set their sights on small towns in the periphery of big cities, says Balaji Rao

Many people consider investment in property as an integral part of their lives. Most of them fervently look for vacant plots, and residential and commercial readymade property including apartments to invest. Such investments are done for several purposes viz. for their children, for getting rental income and to sell at a future date to earn capital appreciation.

After realising that buying property in big cities (Bangalore, Chennai etc.) is turning costlier, making it unaffordable to invest, many over the last few years have set their sights on smaller towns in the periphery. For a Bangalorean, Mysore, Kanakapura, Tumkur, Chickmagalur, Moodbidiri (near Mangalore), Hunsur and even Coonoor and Ooty have become hot destinations for investments.

People have either bought vacant plots of land or big sites which are a good investment. The land prices in the vicinity of Kengeri towards Big Banyan Tree (a famous weekend tourist spot about 25 km from Bangalore) and Bidadi (a small town about 35 km. from Bangalore on the Bangalore-Mysore highway) have shot up by over 500 per cent in the last five years.

Mysore is another hot-spot for investors who do not live in Bangalore. Even residents of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and some from north India have purchased property here which today has made them feel proud as “strategic” investors because of the appreciation in land prices in such quick time.

It is the investment strategy that makes people buy extra land, with no intention of settling down in such far away cities. When the prices shoot up, they sell to make a good profit and continue to look for newer investments. Apart from investing in residential and commercial property away from cities, the latest trend is to invest in farmland, where individuals are developing them into farms. With organic farming catching on, people are looking for opportunities where they take advice from farming experts to develop organic products with local farmers working on their land.

Though there are restrictions on buying agricultural land in a few States (in Karnataka a non-agricultural background person cannot own agricultural land), people are finding ways and means to get hold of them and engage themselves in farming activity. Such investments have become common in and around Mysore, Moodbidiri, Kodagu and Ooty/Coonoor.

Innovation is the key in real estate investment. While many prefer to shell out that much more to invest in city limits, people who have invested in smaller towns have brought in handsome appreciation with lower investment corpus.

On the demerits, such smaller town investments can run into problems with ownership-titles which would need proper checks; besides, the appreciation could prove to be in fragments too. But with proper guidance from local residents and an eye on seeing future potential, such investments away from the hustle-bustle could be worth considering.