September 21, 2019
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    Access to high quality urban housing vital

    August 23, 2019

    Enabling access to high quality urban housing will have a transformational impact in Sri Lankan society and economy as a whole and policy focus should also be placed on stimulating development of multifamily, condominium housing which is accessible by the middle class.Speaking at a seminar on ‘Future of Condominium Living in Sri Lanka’, organized by the Chamber of Construction Industry Sri Lanka, Nayana Mawilmada, Sector Head- John Keells Properties said that the private sector is best positioned to deliver on the nations’ middle income housing requirements, but noted that the industry needs right incentives and more importantly the government should be the enabler of this development rather than the implementer.

    He said further that it is essential to bring down the cost of construction and cost of housing .To this end, he noted that it is required to reduce para tariffs, provide tax incentives for developers and firms to targeting middle income segment, release land in the city for middle income housing development and to encourage competition in the construction and real estate development.He said further that majority of Sri Lankans still prefer single ditached traditional houses over condominiums, accordingly only 10 % of housing in Colombo is high rise buildings.

    A severly constrained housing finance market is one of the leading issues that affect the ability of middle class income groups to purchase an apartment in Sri Lanka. To redress the issue, he said it is essential to focus on enabling wider access to housing finance and reduce interest rates and tax rebates for first time buyers.According to statistics with the Urban Development Authority, nearly 53 percent of Colombo’s population lives in underserved communities such as shanties, shabbily maintained apartments and line houses and they ‘re occupying only 10 percent of the total area of Colombo.

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