15 percent stalled high-rises causing concern to developers


By Steve A. Morrell

Around 15 percent of local high rise building projects would not be completed because of unplanned investments. Besides, the 'magical figure' of some 60 percent demand for such apartments was also a questionable figure that should be closely examined, a recent forum on the subject was told by Director, CEO, Paramount Reality Dr. Nirmal de Silva.

At the Asia Property Guru Awards (Sri Lanka) media engagement convened by Property Guru Asia, progress of the high rise building industry received intense attention. The subject was introduced by Managing Director, Property Guru Asia Property Awards Jules Kay. His initial overview was that the high rise buildings trade in Sri Lanka progressed to the extent that the 4th Property Awards Night would be held in July this year in Colombo.

Although Colombo and its progress in high rise investment were comparatively small, he said, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines were already established locations and the demand for them was expanding. However, emerging markets included India and Australia. In general, he said, the future of the buildings trade was bright.

Indicating impact of the Property Guru Group and its strengths in the high rise competition, he said it was the preferred destination for 23 million property seekers in Asia.

Property Guru was launched in 2005, on a hypothetical assessment that his company was ‘the ultimate hallmark of real estate awards’.

Director, CEO, Paramount Reality Dr. Nirmal de Silva, who is also chair, judging panel, presenting the subject summary of the South Asia Property Market said, comparatively, Sri Lanka was a small market irrespective of its growing popularity in the high rise trade. The population here was small and could not compare with, for example, Vietnam or Thailand. He listed some 15 large markets where the high rise buildings trade was progressing well and the demand was growing.

The judging panel would include architects, engineers and proven professionals to review competitors and their constructions. Seven members in the panel would assess each construction on determined criteria to ensure high standards in construction. Site assessment would entail visits to sites, interviews with constructors to ensure high standards are constantly maintained. He added the panel would not be influenced by sales talk, like for instance, swimming pools depicting luxury apartments that are projected to be of high standard.

Apartments within the price range of Rs. 20 to 25 million were said to be more popular with investors. He agreed that the tradition of family ownership of a house with some land was of appeal to investors. But that trend was replaced by demand for apartments.

Popular demand for apartment living among those nearing retirement was growing, Particularly influenced by security and unhindered living with allied social life. Living conditions applicable to that age group were in an upward growth spiral of demand.

Answering a question on the dearth of office space, de Silva agreed such space was gravely in short supply; but building projects being implemented would also include such accommodation.

Also at the head table, were COO, Head of Assurance, Risk Management Sasanka Ratnaweera and president, Institute of Town Planners Dr. Jagath Munasinghe who also contributed to the discussion.

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