Construction may see degrowth of -6.5% in FY2021
Forecast for GDP growth now -6.4 per cent for FY2021: CARE Ratings. July 2020
In a major move to kickstart at least some pent-up economic activity, the government today released the guidelines to be followed during lockdown 2.0. Offering some relief to the construction sector, the government has permitted activity to resume in non-COVID-19 or Coronavirus hotspots, provided they follow strict social distancing guidelines. Having said that, the guideline clearly mentions that no construction worker will be brought from outside and only those currently available on the site will be able to resume work.
Considering the ongoing scenario, the move to start at least some of the construction activity on project sites, even with limited workforce, is certainly welcome. That said, since many migrant workers had left for their villages post lockdown 1.0 announcement, we will have to wait and see how many are actually left back to resume work. Migrant workers comprise at least 80 per cent share of the total 44 million workforce in the construction sector currently.
That aside, it will definitely help the real estate sector to some extent as well. However, the fact that COVID-19 hotspots will not be able to resume activity from April 20 is a dampener for markets such as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) – a highly-impacted zone which, as per Anarock data, currently has the highest under-construction residential stock of nearly 4.65 lakh units. This accounts for 30 per cent of the overall 15.62 lakh under-construction stock across the top seven cities.
As far as construction activity in non-hotspots is concerned, developers will need to focus on resuming construction on projects that are already nearing completion and have a completion deadline within 2020.
About the Author:
Anuj Puri is Chairman at Anarock Property Consultants.