Real Estate Tech in Sri Lanka is picking up speed, the need for technology in real estate is the outcome of economic growth in the last seven years which have attracted international brands, companies, and investors for various industrial sectors.
The economy of Sri Lanka has been reviving since the end of the civil war in 2009. In the last seven years, the country has done tremendous financial growth in every sector. As far as real estate and the use of technology are concerned,it looks promising in at least in the capital city of Colombo, shows some recent studies.
According to a survey conducted by a realty tech, Lamudi, 80% people believe that the use of social media in house hunting has gone up significantly between 2016 and 2017. With transforming the skyline of top cities of Sri Lanka, real estate investors and buyers purchasing pattern are also changing. As they are getting more and more tech-savvy, mobile applications and property websites have been replacing the traditional approach of property search.
According to World Bank statistics, the economy of Sri Lanka grew at an average rate of 6.4% between 2010 and 2015. Even in 2016, the country’s economy did quite impressive, and reports say that the GDP remained at around US$82 billion in 2016.
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The growth of tourism and export has made the country wealthy and prosperous. It has played a crucial role in country’s urbanization and infrastructural development.
The rise in people’s purchasing power and their wealth has driven them to look for investment opportunities. Though the real estate market looks promising, however, people don’t have time to spend for property search.
Some property brokers who deal in real estate business as well as some realty tech startup sensed this opportunity and came up with property websites and mobile application which not only bridge the gap between a buyer and a seller but also provide a convenient and efficient medium.
Real Estate Scene in Sri Lanka
While another Asian property market has been going through a slump, Sri Lanka has been experiencing a robust demand in all kinds of properties be it commercial, residential or retail.
According to a report, Real Estate in Sri Lanka – Prospects and Potential by JLL, “Colombo is witnessing a high demand in the premium housing segment, driven by High Networth Individuals (HNIs) and Non-resident Sri Lankans. Colombo city has seen a supply of more than 1,500 high-end condominiums in a price range of USD 180–220 per sq ft, of which more than 70% has been sold. The demand for premium segment housing is expected to be sustained over the medium term.”
However, some property consultants are of the view that larger cities like Colombo are gradually getting saturated, so buyers focus is shifting towards tier II and tier III cities. These areas have a huge parcel of land for sale-purchase, and even construction cost for ready-to-move-in flats is also economical due to cheap labor.
Experts believe that the comings years will witness a property boom in these tier II and tier III cities provided the government undertakes proper city planning. Infrastructural development such as transport services to enhance connectivity between bigger and small cities, uninterrupted water and power supply, roads, etc. is the key to the real estate market in these towns.
Along with the residential market, the commercial and retail realty scene have also looked up in larger cities. According to JLL report, the demand for commercial office space is driven by growth in the banking, IT/ITES and tourism sectors.
“In terms of figures for later in 2016, “tourism earnings grew 14.0% in 2016, and private sector credit growth was robust at the end of the year. This is a positive indicator for the real estate market,” says the Lamudi Real Estate Market Report Sri Lanka, 2017.
Real Estate Tech in Sri Lanka
The booming realty market of Sri Lanka owes a lot to the innovative technology as well. Had the realty tech startups not arrived in time, the market wouldn’t have flourished as it is today. The technology has filled the gap between buyers and sellers and intensified the market momentum.
The realty players, be it developers or brokers, are leveraging technology to their benefits. Lamudi survey of 2017 shows that more than 80% people believe that online real estate portal plays a major role in house-hunting.
The sector feels that the expansion of communication infrastructure holds the key to the growth of innovative technology. At present, 27% Sri Lankan population have access to the internet which includes mainly the larger cities and their suburban areas. Regarding population, approximately 6 million people have internet access. The Internet access rate in Sri Lanka is better than Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
The last five years have experienced constant growth of the use of internet in Sri Lanka, which indicates a promising state of affairs for Sri Lankan tech startups. Between internet and mobile, trends show that people prefer mobile to get online as the latter is the cheaper medium.
The social medium like Facebook is playing a crucial role in connecting people as according to an estimation 18.5% people use Facebook. That’s the reason realty players and brokers, along with launching their websites to market their product, take to social media to advertise and create awareness.
One of the positive tech trends in Sri Lanka is that mobile phones are 42% more popular for internet surfing that desktop. This shows that web applications can bring more business than websites. Sri Lanka has 100% mobile connectivity.
“When it comes to internet behavior in Sri Lanka, online service providers should tailor their site/app to the mobile phone market. Sri Lanka’s Internet population is heavily focused on accessing information online while on the move,” says the Lamudi survey of 2017.
Top Companies in Real Estate Tech in Sri Lanka
Like many Asian countries, real estate tech startups in Sri Lanka, have launched property websites that offer essential services such as listing, searching and sale-purchase. Some of them are providing the same services through their mobile applications.
Some of these real estate websites are Morik Real Estate Agents, Kp property, TSL Property Services, Linea Property, Reach Real Estate (Pvt) Ltd, Regal Properties (pvt) Ltd, Sun Lands, Sri Dream Homes Real Estate, Realtors Lanka, Global Homes & Realty, Ceylon Property & Investments (Pvt) Ltd, Beyond Realty, Green Land Properties Sri Lanka, Mister T, Property Solutions, Colombo Realtors, etc.
Besides these property websites such as Treasure Hub (Pvt) Ltd, Temptation Real Estate, Nature homes and advertising services, Star Property Management & Development, Dot com property, R B Realtors and Consultants (Private) Limited, DW Realtors, Pearlrich Real Estate, Lanka Property Developers, Elankaventures (Private) Limited, AM International, Nandasena, Rizvi Real Estate etc are catering to the regional and local demands among other things.
One of the prominent realty tech startups Lamudi has come up with mobile applications for property brokers and buyers of Sri Lanka. Lamudi.lk is the Sri Lankan chapter of the Lamudi global property portal which assists people to find their dream home and investors to ideal land and commercial properties.
The Lamudi application provides a platform to the realty agents to upload and manage new inventories, receive clients’ messages and perform the advance analysis.
Startups such as iS2’s Ape SmartHome works in the IoT space to deliver smart home automation solutions. The company claims that one of its products, “iCOMM SmartHome System, is a versatile solution that would convert your home to a SmartHome, which is safe, secure and most of all, convenient and energy efficient.”
Opportunities in Real Estate Tech in Sri Lanka
The real estate tech in Sri Lanka offers vast opportunities, because the current startups are only providing essential services through online medium. The use of technology in big data analysis, predictive analytics, smart building hardware will further transform the sector. As we know that Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing the building efficiency world over, Sri Lanka is not very far behind in making use of this technology. The government wants to make use of IoT, big data and cloud computing technology in urban development.
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One of the ambitious government projects, the Strategic Cities Development Projects, aims at making use of the innovative technology to provide real-time traffic information system, smart power grids, and smart street lighting system.
The Ministry of Town Planning and Water Resources has recently announced to develop Kandy as the first smart city of Sri Lanka. It’s not possible without introducing technologies such as IoT.
Real Estate Tech in Sri Lanka – Conclusion
Sri Lanka has always been at the forefront of adopting the innovative solution. With the constant growth of communication infrastructure and technology, real estate sector has been able to exploit the advantage regarding developing website and applications that can provide modern platforms for the property sale.
With the government initiatives to build smart cities, the country is not far away from witnessing a technological revolution in the realty sector ang giving a further boos to Real Estate Tech in Sri Lanka.
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