VISAKHAPATNAM: The ailing real estate story of Andhra Pradesh is finally on its way to recovery. And giving it the much-needed 'booster shots' is the port city of Visakhapatnam that's selling an astounding 2,000 homes every month. Also on its way to completion here, are as many as 20,000 apartment units that are expected to be ready to occupy over the next few years. Not surprising then that property prices in this fast emerging investment hub are now on a par with the hi-tech pockets of Hyderabad such as Madhapur and Gachibowli.
After a rocky recessionary patch, rates in the central business district of Vizag have touched a high Rs 4,500-5,000 per square feet (sft), while the peripheral zone now flaunts a price tag of anywhere between Rs 2,000-2,500 per sft. This, when the average going rate in the capital city, doubly struck first by the meltdown and then by the `T' agitation, is still struggling to cross the Rs 3,000 per sft mark.
Queuing up to buy cozy homes in the port city are not just locals (salaried class and mid-sized businessmen) but also `migrants' and NRIs, most of them with an Andhra connect. And apart from the picturesque landscape, what seems to be drawing them to invest in Vizag is the promise of better connectivity -- thanks to the recent international status of its airport -- and hope of IT companies/industries expanding their bases in the city soon.
"Post-recession, Vizag was one of the earliest markets to recover. While others took two-three years, this city bounced back in a year. The going rates here are better than the 2005-06 boom period," said Raja Srinivas, president, Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India ( CREDAI), Visakhapatnam chapter.
While the demand, according to Srinivas, is the highest in core city areas comprising MVP Colony, Pandurangapuram, Chinna Waltair, among others, pockets on the outskirts such as Madhurawada, Gajuwaka and Gopalapatnam too have been witnessing a decent footfall.
Alongside mid-sized apartments, even sprawling villas priced at anywhere over Rs 1 crore are expected to spring up in the port city soon. "There is a growing demand for premium properties here. NRIs, doctors, businessmen are all eager to invest in this city, which has come to become an ideal 'second home' destination for buyers," said M V V Satyanarayana, managing partner of M V V Builders, one of the prominent construction companies operating in the city.
But while the 500 and odd local developers seem content with the pace of realty growth in Vizag, industry biggies from Hyderabad confess that they are still apprehensive about its future. And at the root of their concern is the failed prediction about Vizag turning into a real estate hub overnight __ even over-taking the capital city __ after the Telangana crisis hit AP. While the 2009 episode had markets thick with speculation about prices in the city doubling or even tripling with a multi-fold rise in demand, that has clearly not been the case. Even assumptions about professionals (largely with IT companies) moving away from trouble-struck Hyderabad to settle in Vizag have not come true.