BHUBANESWAR: Realtors are keeping their fingers crossed about the impact cyclone Phailin and the subsequent floods are likely to have on the real estate sector.
Construction has come to a grinding halt as most of the over 40,000 workers engaged in construction in Bhubaneswar have gone to their native places to repair their cyclone and flood ravaged houses. It will take at least three to four months for work to pick up speed, industry insiders said.
A large section of the labourers, both skilled and unskilled, are from Ganjam, Cuttack, Kendrapada and Jagatsinghpur, among other coastal districts, and Andhra Pradesh.
"The cyclone and floods damaged their homes and other property, so most of them have left. Construction has almost stopped," said Binay Das, state president of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association.
"The situation is likely to continue for the next few months, as these workers will take time to come back," he added.
The festive occasion from Dussehra to Diwali is traditionally considered a boom time for sale of houses. But builders said the cyclone and flood had dampened the spirits of prospective buyers. "Builders were eagerly awaiting the festive season to sell their unsold stocks in the otherwise sluggish market. But the calamities ruined those prospects," said Anup Kumar Mohapatra, a real estate developer and consultant.
According to industry insiders, housing projects worth Rs 20,000 crore are under various stages of construction in the city.
Mohapatra said that though potential buyers might not be directly affected by the cyclone or floods, severe waterlogging at multi-storey apartments in several parts of the city might make them think again about investing in real estate.
The Palasuni-Hansapl-Daya bridge triangle and areas between Patia and Nandankanan, where several new realty projects have come up, are waterlogged.
"I was thinking of buying a house in Bhubaneswar. But looking at the waterlogging in prime housing projects here, I am confused," said Ajit Kumar, a software engineer.
Some builders, however, are optimistic. "Except for the shortage of labourers because of the calamities, I don't think there will be any other major impact on the sector in the long term. It will rebound soon," said Pradipta Kumar Biswasroy, president, Real Estate Developers' Association of Odisha.