Homelands Sri Lanka Analysis | Apartment Projects in Colombo | Apartments in Sri Lanka

Real estate industry analysis and predictions by Mr. Nalin Herath; Chairman and Managing Director of Homelands Skyline Apartment Projects In Colombo

February 15, 2021

  1. How has the Real Estate sector grown in the last five years? What have been the key growth areas, e.g.: land sale, apartments etc.

When it comes to living trends in Sri Lanka, we see that we often find people residing in and around central locations.  Due to the lack of infrastructure, traffic and transport, there have been less number of people who have considered living in locations in the Greater Colombo Area.

The last 5 years has shown a staggering increase in the number of individuals residing in apartments. There seems to be a better demand compared to other housing and land sales. Prices of plots of land in Colombo and within city limits are priced high and constantly increasing, and for that reason alone, individuals prefer to purchase in an apartment in central Colombo which are more affordable in comparison.

Due to the development and improvement of infrastructure and highways which result in improved connectivity; there is a growing demand of investment in apartments and housing in Greater Colombo and its suburbs. Individuals are now more willing to invest in housing and apartments that provide them with a scenic view and quiet surroundings away from the hustle and bustle of the city which they are able to achieve in locations like these.The demand for new apartment projects in Colombo suburbs has risen over the years.

 

  1. What about / geographical growth? Which areas have shown greater growth potential?

There has been quite a notable increase in geographical growth due to the increase in infrastructure and connectivity. After the construction of the Southern Expressway, the Outer Circular Expressway and the Katunayake Expressways, it has created new real-estate hotspots in areas like Kottawa, Malabe, Kahathuduwa, Kadawatte, Jaela, Negambo etc.

These new improvements in the area of transport and connectivity provide easy access to Colombo and other central locations as well as offering potential investors to consider investing in more affordable housing and land prices in these location.

  1. Do you see greater overseas investor interest in investing in Sri Lanka’s real estate sector?

There has been a significant improvement after the COVID – 19 pandemic. There is a notable increase in inquiries about investing in Sri Lanka especially by Sri Lankans currently living overseas.

Since Sri Lanka is now considered a popular location to own property in, there is an increase of Sri Lankans living overseas as well as expats that are looking to invest locally.

  1. If not, why not, and what can be done to attract more foreign investors into the sector?

Under this new government’s 2021 budget in terms of real estate, the changes announced in regards to the implementation of reform propositions in the area of real estate encourage foreign investment. These reforms support the industry beyond the existing measures already set in place with a commitment to provide an advantage to the real estate industry in the country.

In addition, waving off taxes from the budget and relaxing the regulation on investments into apartments and real estate by foreigners.

There is therefore, a much higher demand for real estate, especially apartment sales.

 

  1. There is a rise in apartment projects coming up. Could you briefly explain the potential of apartments with regard to luxury and non-luxury segment?

When it comes to differentiating between the luxury and non-luxury segment in apartments, it all comes down to two main factors which are affordability and convenience. Sri Lanka is currently one of the highest in the region when it comes to the escalating value of land and the cost of construction. This in turn impacts the final cost of purchasing a luxury apartment which is priced high. In addition to this, there are currently enough luxury apartments in Colombo and the non-luxury or semi-luxury segment show potential promise in the future.

  1. What are the environmental impact considerations of vertical building and are they being addressed by developers?

The concern for the environment is a huge contributing factor of increasing importance when it comes to construction of buildings and apartments in Sri Lanka. These areas of concern have to be included with environmental planning and urban design.

When taking the impact and considerations of vertical buildings on the environment, contrary to popular belief, this construction has a much more positive effect than previously believed.

It makes it easy to contribute and follow green building practices which will eventually contribute to reducing our carbon-footprint by adopting methods and creating the opportunity of a natural ventilation system and optimize the use of the natural light resulting in a more environmental friendly, sustainable construction. This can be achieved by making more open spaces a priority, creating more locations for leisure and relaxation within the apartment premises, and introducing new eco-friendly facilities into the design of apartment complexes and apartment projects in Colombo.

  1. Your opinion on timeliness of projects. Are they being handed over to customers on time?

In a general we found that we have been able to complete and hand over the apartments on or before the expected date of completion. However in the very recent past, we have face a slight delay due to COVID -19 due to the fact that it was a situation that was beyond our control. However, we have managed to make up for lost time considerably and are progressing well.

 

 

 

  1. How do you see the potential of apartment development?

Current statistics show that the current number of individuals choosing to live in apartments in Sri Lanka lie between 9 and 10%.

Put in retrospect, countries like Mumbai – India, Singapore and Malaysia showed 80% of individuals living in apartments. Sri Lanka showed less than 4% of the current population lived in apartments in 2010. Therefore when comparing the 2010 current statistics to current data, it shows a notable growing increase.

Furthermore, due to the way in which the Sri Lankan Government handled the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen more Sri Lankans residing overseas interested in purchasing apartments and property in their motherland.

However, this figure is bound to increase to 20% by the year 2030 based on the current trend.

 

  1. When it comes to developing real estate in smaller towns and cities, what is the progress?

We have seen an increasing number of individuals willing to invest on the suburbs in the Greater Colombo locations since the positive turn and increase in the area of both infrastructure and transportation. We have also seen an increased interest in areas in the outskirts of Colombo.

  1. What are the challenges for the real estate sector due to the pandemic? How have real estate prices been affected?

There was actually little to no negative affect or challenge for the real estate sector during the pandemic. On the contrary, there was actually a boom in sales, inquiries and an evident escalation in land prices during that time revealing a high number of prospective investors both locally and Sri Lankans residing overseas. In addition, import restrictions, travel bans due to the pandemic and the negative economic condition across the world will adversely affect the increase in the purchase of real estate.

  1. SWOT Analysis

Strengths

  • The experience brought on board by the developer.
  • The modern, innovative approach in planning and design of the apartment complexes.

Weaknesses

  • Lack of support received by the State sector.
  • Lack of infrastructure facilities available in cities beyond Greater Colombo.
  • Community and socio-economic problems

Opportunities

  • According to recent statistics to determine potential customer behavior in the next decade, it showed a rise of apartment sales and apartment living by 20%.
  • More young people are showing interest in moving into apartments.
  • The Port City project has provided an opportunity to our country in regards to real estate.
  • Due to the reduced loan interest rate, in the country, more individuals are keen on investing into the real estate sector.

Threats

  • National security is a huge concern and poses as a threat to the real estate industry.
  • The weak, unstable financial situation of the Banking sector is yet another factor that is considered a threat to the growth of the industry.
  • Malpractice entering the sector is another area that adversely affects the industry as a whole.

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