Are apartment developers moving to the suburbs?

Thursday, 31 October 2019 00:07 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Lanka Property Web

With Colombo turning into more of a business hub than a residential area, recent studies conducted by LankaPropertyWeb (LPW) show that apartment developers are now exploring the suburbs to cater to growing interest in vertical living amongst locals. 

The numerous developments taking place in the main city, resulting in diminished space within Colombo’s rented houses and reduced demand for the sale of its houses, has in fact largely contributed to this interest. 

The country’s rising population and its changing lifestyles have also further influenced the number of apartments available for rent and condominium construction taking place in the city. However, over the years, such construction taking place within Colombo’s inner city limits (i.e. Colombo 1-15) has continued to decrease. 

According to the data gathered by the Condominium Management Authority (CMA), from 2014 to 2016 there was an increase in condominiums in Colombo. But from 2017 onwards, an obvious reduction was seen. Apartment construction in the other districts follow a downward slope as well. However, in locales within the Greater Colombo area like Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, Mount Lavinia, Rajagiriya, etc., excluding Colombo 1-15, a continuous rise in complex constructions has been witnessed.

Commenting on this trend, LankaPropertyWeb Managing Director Daham Gunaratna said: "The main reason developers are moving out of Colombo could be the cost of construction in Colombo (mainly driven by high land value) and thus the price of apartments going up." 

The opening of Sethsiripaya in Battaramulla by former president Mahinda Rajapaksha in 2012 brought about plans to shift government offices into the administrative hub of Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, leaving Colombo’s city limits for business affairs. As a result, now the 13-storey building houses the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, Ministry of Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Higher Education and Highways, etc. This has brought significant improvement in service and administration to the public. 

Many development projects have also been directed at uplifting the standard and infrastructure of the Greater Colombo area and the Western Province as a whole. The introduction of the Western Region Master Plan 2030, which includes the construction of the Light Rail Transit System from Malabe to Fort with 16 stations, the Tech City Development Project in the Malabe, Athurugiriya, Kaduwela and Homagama areas, the creation of the Airport Business City and the BIA Gateway Project are some construction projects expected within the next 10 years. 

The Kottawa-Makumbura Multi-Modal Transport Hub, which was opened to the public in April this year, is another development project that was established to improve the transport system in the Greater Colombo area.

Based on CMA data on land price changes, over the past two years, land prices have risen in areas of the greater Colombo region such as Nawala, Kalubowila, Dehiwala and Rajagiriya. Meanwhile, there is an evident hike in land sale in Colombo 3, given the many developments taking place. However, the prices of other areas of Colombo are not rising as rapidly as the greater Colombo region. 

Comparing this rise in land prices in greater Colombo with the increase in condominium construction in these areas, the interest of condominium developers is quite obviously justified. 

A reducing floor area space amongst apartments in Colombo and an increase in this feature in the Greater Colombo area shows that the latter is turning out to be more spacious than those in the main city. 

Many established and recognised private universities are also increasing in number in the Greater Colombo area. This has created greater access to education in these areas which matches the standards of the options available in Colombo city. 

Improvements in infrastructure, transport facilities, education and much more are taking place in the Greater Colombo area and developers are now realising the opportunities available to them. As a result, an increase in condominium construction in the Greater Colombo area is speculated within the near future. 

(LankaPropertyWeb was founded in 2007 with the purpose of helping property buyers and sellers operate with greater ease and convenience. Since its launch, it has grown into Sri Lanka’s leading property website).