Prices for real estate are booming across Central Asia's Ferghana Valley in what some observers fear could stoke unrest in an overpopulated region. There are also concerns that the boom is actually a bubble whose eventual burst could have serious economic ramifications for the entire region.
The boom is most visible in the Kyrgyz part of the Valley, where political practices are more liberal and controls on economic activities relatively few. According to Kyrgyz officials, since 2004 the price per cubic meter of housing in the southern city of Osh has increased by 40 percent, and land by 38 percent. Osh-based real estate agents argue that there has been almost a ten-fold increase in prices over the past three years.
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Alisher Khamidov is a doctoral candidate at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C.