Vijayawada April 24: The realty scenario in the State has witnessed a drastic fall following the outbreak of coronavirus. The hype created around the capital cities has proven to be short-lived. The virus which is on a killing spree across the globe has also resulted in economic recession resulting in a halt to many big ticket projects.

The realty sector had provided employment to over a million construction workers directly and another half indirectly.  According to initial estimates, more than 4,500 projects have been stalled all over Andhra Pradesh following the pandemic.

The industry experts are though hopeful that the sector will bounce back in a few months in cities like Vizag, Vijayawada, Guntur, Tirupati and a few other towns in the State. The sector which was hit by shortage of sand earlier, has currently taken a hit due to COVID-19.

Chairman of Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI), Andhra Pradesh, K. Subba Raju said that real-estate industry is the second largest contributor to GDP and creates huge employment opportunities. The COVID-19 has stalled 3,000 to 4,000 real-estate housing projects at various stages with crores of rupees stuck in the State.

“We think that the post-COVID-19 scenario will be challenging for the real-estate sector.  Yet we are hoping that things will improve as there are indications that some NRIs will return to Andhra Pradesh from Europe and US and invest in properties in the cities and towns,’’  Subba Raju added.

However, some builders like K. Prasad and T. Aniridh said that post COVID-19 there would be an insecure job market and lack of purchasing power. Many would postpone their plans till the job market stabilizes.

If the lockdown is further extended (even after May 3), there would be salary reduction and job cuts in most of the sectors and the banks will become cautious in giving housing loans.

The proposed shifting of the secretariat to Vizag city from Amaravati has resulted in an increase in prices of apartments and plots in Vizag city. The prices had increased by Rs 500 to Rs 700 per square feet and the sale had picked up till March first week.

“COVID-19 has changed the scenario and even though the prices will reduce, builders will find it difficult to sell the properties immediately,” said D. Raghu, a builder in Vizag city.

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