Vizag, the capital of Tamil Nadu state, is a sprawling industrial city with a large number of small manufacturing plants, and it’s often referred to as the “green belt”.
In 2017, the population of Vizag grew by around 25,000 to 8,000, and the economic growth was at its lowest in decades.
The city is known for its excellent healthcare, a high quality education system and the city’s relatively stable social environment, but the real estate market is booming and there are many empty houses.
As well as its commercial, residential and office sector, the city also houses a growing number of social housing.
“In Vizag city, we have a problem with a lack of housing in the city centre, but there are places where people can live in a cheap way.
People who are working or who have children are renting apartments in Vizag,” says Ramesh, a resident of the city.
“This has created a problem for the city as there are people who live in their parents’ houses, but they cannot live in them, because the apartments are empty.”
Many people have moved to the suburbs of Vizanag.
In 2017 alone, the total population of the capital grew by 1,000 people to around 6,000.
However, the number of new apartments and commercial spaces has fallen dramatically.
According to the latest census, there were 1,091 new apartments in the metro area in the 2017-18 financial year, while the population dropped to 639.
“There are only a few properties left in the old part of Vizaag and we have no choice but to sell these because there are only about 50 to 60 properties left.
We are looking for an apartment to rent in the new part of the metro.
We would need about 50,000 rupees (about $1,250) to make the move,” says Vijay, a seller of commercial properties.
“If we had to do it in a bigger city like Mumbai, it would cost a lot more.
In the suburbs, there is not much space.
But if we wanted to rent an apartment in the future, the price would be about 25,00 rupees per month,” says Gaurav, a commercial real estate agent in Vizanagar.
“Most of the people have chosen to live in the suburbs because of the lower cost of living,” says a local journalist, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.
He adds that, although it is not easy to find an apartment, the trend is growing.
“We have a lot of empty houses and the population is growing, but we are also seeing a lot less people who want to live there,” he says.