With real estate highly regarded as a stepping stone to financial security, CBH Lands, a Sri Lankan real estate leader and the market leader in Kurunegala, shared new research and insight into the strategic importance of Kurunegala to national economic growth and community development.
Speaking at a special press conference on March 8, 2022, CBH Lands Founding President Yatila Wijemanne and Founding Deputy President Manjarie Tissera explained the historical, territorial and scientific aspects of real estate investing in the Sri Lanka and opportunities for investors through its “#MyHomeKurunegala” initiative. .
At present, Kurunegala is the second largest contributor to the national GDP (gross domestic product), with the second largest government teacher base and the highest road mileage. With a commercial economy that operates on its own, while many other regions depend mainly on tourism or their proximity to Colombo, Kurunegala is strategically located at the crossroads of the main internal roads of the country.
Over the past three years, Kurunegala has posted an annual land price appreciation of 60%, according to CBH Lands Intelligence. Although the company only focuses on land, it has been mentioned that land is a valuable asset that can be easily valued.
Elaborating further on this in response to a question regarding the viability of real estate investment in the current environment, Mr. Wijemanne noted that over the past few years, a major surge in real estate investment for residential and commercial purposes has been recorded. He further noted that while there are some bottlenecks, low interest rates as well as record high housing and home loans currently being offered are contributing to the strong demand.
Asked about the environmental impact, Mr Wijemanne explained: “Generally we have to go through a minimum of around 12 government bodies for each project, starting with the local authority, the provincial council, the urban development authority , then the government with an analysis. From there we are referred to the Water Board, the Central Environment Authority and the Roads Development Authority. We have a separate team deployed to handle all approvals.
In addition to this, Ms. Tissera pointed out that Kurunegala is the only district in Sri Lanka that requires a developer license, which she says should also be the practice in other districts. She noted, “Each district should have a policy where a license is required for these type of developments. In this way, other rivers and such can also be protected, not only in Kurunegala.
Pointing to the “Real Estate Decision Triangle”, put together by CBH Lands Intelligence, it was mentioned that investors’ decisions are based on the three factors of budget, space and location. Noting that generally real estate investment is a compromise, especially in Colombo and Gampaha districts, where one of the factors is sacrificed, Kurunegala does not pose such a threat at the moment.
Both Mr. Wijemanne and Ms. Tissera pointed out that while national development programs and marketing campaigns – such as those implemented in Hambantota – could be very beneficial, responsibility for the development of Kurunegala also lies with developers, residents and local businessmen.