Real estate experts from across Sri Lanka gathered this week, to discuss the future of the country’s real estate market.
Agents, developers, financial experts and researchers attended the event, held at the BMICH banquet hall, which explored the changes to Sri Lanka’s real estate market, as the island undergoes a serious transformation.
On October 21st, Lamudi Sri Lanka hosted its second annual real estate conference. Attendees were impressed by the use of virtual reality systems which highlighted the significance of such technology within the real estate sector.
Hugh van der Kolff, Managing Director of Lamudi Sri Lanka said, “Virtual reality and drones will take the property-hunting process to the next level, making it easier for house-hunters to gain a realistic overview, with detailed aerial photos of a property. This technology will allow a potential buyer to experience living in a house or even try out different interior designs. It will revolutionize the search for properties.”
Rohan Jayaweera, Director of Antyra Solutions, formerly employed at Google Sri Lanka, exposed interesting facts about the nation’s digital footprint. He specified that 14 to 16 percent of Sri Lankans own a smartphone while more than 57 percent of the access to Internet in the country occurs via mobile phones. Facebook has around 3.2 million users in Sri Lanka, while around 33,000 searches for property in Sri Lanka occur per month on Google. He concluded by emphasizing how promoting properties in Sri Lanka should mix traditional and online methods, as one medium alone is no longer enough to attract potential buyers.
Roshan Madawela, Managing Director of RIU, explored the macro-overview of the real estate market, while the chairman of Prime Lands, Brahmanage Premalal, spoke about the key factors to consider to minimize risk when buying apartments.
Abeysuriya, Group Director of Candor, explained that Sri Lanka’s commercial real estate has high potential for ROI. “Retail rental yields for commercial property average around 10 percent,” he said. He added the nation still lacks innovative financing options for commercial real estate, but we can expect improved financing options: “Soon we will see new financing options such as REITS and CMBS becoming available for commercial real estate developers.”
Before the conference concluded, a panel discussion explored the challenges facing the local real estate market. Questions explored: legal and tax elements related to real estate, barriers faced by new entrants and the growth of sustainable housing in Sri Lanka. The panel included experts from KPMG, Sandal Lands and University of Sri Jayewardenapura, among others.
The conference was held in partnership with leading business magazine in the country, LMD, and in conjunction with leading sponsors, including: Gold sponsor Shangri-La; consecutive sponsor Prime Lands; Silver sponsors Sandal Lands and JAT Holdings; and Bronze sponsors Orix Marketing and Real Properties 4 U.
“The event was a major success, with an impressive number of attendees sharing their combined knowledge of the growing real estate and technology industries in Sri Lanka. We are already looking forward to next year,” said van der Kolff.
During the event, Lamudi also launched the second issue of its Property Now magazine, which focuses on current trends in the real estate market, interior design, city guides and home improvement tips.