Properties in Kochi and that too in the outskirts of the city corporation are now the hot favorite of both individual households and the leading builders. In the panchayat areas of Ernakulam, the rules are more relaxed than in the city areas. Due to the increasing congestion, sanction for a building project or even for the construction of an individual home is not that much easy. Your application to build a home or an apartment will have to move from the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) and then reach the Corporation Authorities. It is a time consuming process. On the other hand, in the panchayat area, if you are buying land and then intending to build your dream home, you can start the construction activities the next day after the registration process concerning the property transaction is over. Due to the emphasis placed on decongesting the city, the stamp duty in the panchayat area is less than half that prevailing in the city corporation areas. Just a few years ago, the stamp duty was about 10 percent of the total value of the property in the panchayat areas. It is now 4 percent. In addition, in the Municipal area, it has been reduced from 12.5 percent and now hovers around 5 percent. In the city corporation limits, even though there is a reduction in stamp duty from 13.5 percent and is now fixed at 6 percent, it was an effort to prevent under valuation of properties during land transactions. On the other hand, there is a phenomenal hike in the benchmark prices and thus the actual effect is that the cost to the customer is more than that prevailing in the panchayat and municipal areas. Real estate is the bread and butter for a vast majority of the people of Kochi. As a leading broker put it, under valuation of properties is a fact, which no government can ever afford to control.