Land sales grind to a halt in Yangon New Town area after price surge

Sales of land in the area where the so-called Yangon New Town is planned have ground to halt after prices soared to Ks 70 million (US$72,000) to Ks 85 million an acre, local residents and real estate agents say.

The new town will cover 30,000 acres in three townships: Kyimyindine, Seikkyi Kanaungto and Twantay. Yangon Mayor Hla Myint announced the previously secret project on August 22 at the ninth session of the Yangon Region Parliament, raising eyebrows from Yangon to Nay Pyi Taw and kicking off a speculative buying binge.

Soe Thein, a resident of Kone village in Twantay Township, said prices had risen on average to Ks 45-50 million per acre and those who had bought them at that price were now trying to sell them at Ks 65-70 million. “I heard three acres were sold for Ks 85 million each, but they near a possible road project in the new town,” Soe Thein said.

He said farmers were spending MONEY they earned from selling their farmland to repair their homes and repay debts, adding that some farmers own up to eight acres.

“Some farmers sold their lands over fears it would be seized by private companies,” he said.

Ye Myint, a female farmer from Alet Chaung village in Kyimyindine Township, said some farmers were selling portions of their land and keeping the rest to continue farming. She said she had sold land for Ks 50 million an acre but had kept some to continue farming. Another farmer she knows, Bo Ba, has sold three of his 11 acres.

She said brokers had bought the land. “No buyers came in person to buy land,” she said, adding that she did not know what price the brokers were reselling it at. “Many brokers came last month, but only a few have been visiting lately,” she added.

A farmer with 30 acres in the project said he refused to sell any land. “I flatly refused to sell and the brokers gave up,” he said, adding that he had received offers to buy his land for two years, but that the prices shot up two months ago – about five weeks before Mayor Hla Myint made the startling announcement about the new town.

He said no brokers have approached him for 10 days.

Reports have said that a new bridge will be constructed near Aye village in Kyimyindine Township and that houses in the area will be relocated to a new location about three kilometres from Kone village.

“Farmers want to sell their land, but there are only a few buyers now. Sales came to a halt 20 days ago,” a real estate agent said, adding that buyers looking for a windfall had been so plentiful that had created traffic congestion on the Twantay-Hlaingtharyar Road.

“Now, only a few people come and all they do is ask about the prices,” the real-estate agent said.

Tun Myint, a farmer from Kan village in Twantay Township, said plots near the road were going for up to Ks 100 million per acre, while those far away went for about half that price. “I didn’t sell my land. I just have four or five acres and all I want to do is farm,” he added.

Following a backlash to Mayor Hla Myint’s shocking announcement that a new town would be built – and that the contractor had already been selected – the Yangon Region government made a swift U-turn. It announced on August 28 that the project would only proceed after a tender was announced to select the contractor.


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