The real estate industry was looking for quick clearance through the much-vaunted TS-bPASS or single window online clearance of building permissions and self-certification process after work has come to a grinding halt for almost 50 days due to COVID-19 shutdown.

However, it was not to be as the government has put off the launch date. Even otherwise, industry bigwigs admit that the chances of new grand launches happening in the next six months or even for a year is pretty slim. “Most of the labourers had gone back to their native places and it could take at least more than a month for them to return. Focus will be to first complete existing projects. Luckily, there is not much inventory,” say industry veterans, pleading anonymity.

The market, when compared to other metros, has been doing well till last year with a steady rise of 9% in pricing and more new launches despite issues with online building permission systems, environmental clearances, TS-Real Estate Regulatory Authority (TS-RERA) and so on.

Happenings in the last two months did put a break on the activities, yet builders are sanguine about demand in the city. “At least for the next quarter and more, there will not be any grand launches. We are expecting to see more mechanisation in plastering, shuttering and pre-cast material to a large extent though labour will continue to play a big role,” they explain.

TS-RERA, which has about 1,920 properties registered, has already extended the last date for completion of existing projects for six months till September 14. Close to 1,500 projects are said to be in various stages of construction.

A niche market for a ‘working networked room’ may have opened in the market in the light of ‘work from home/study’ concepts taking off, but it again depends on area and affordability even if having an extra room for the purpose sounds attractive. “We are working on some designs in that direction,” said a player.

Prominent developers deny migrant labour were left to fend for themselves during lockdown, forcing them to take extreme measures of walking home. “We have failed as a society to take care of them, but it is not fair to club everyone in the exploiters bracket. Many developers took care, offered more wages and tried to counsel, but the overwhelming feeling for them was to rush home to be with their parents and children due to coronavirus fear,” they maintain.

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