Sri Lanka open to releasing urban land for affordable housing
Mar 08, 2019 12:17 PM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)
ECONOMYNEXT- The Sri Lankan government is open to releasing state-held land in the capital Colombo to private sector real estate developers to build apartments for 'Home Sweet Home' loan applicants, a minister said.
"If the private sector is interested and will come up with proposals which will enhance this loan, we are willing to consider," Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.
The 2019 budget read on Tuesday offered 'Home Sweet Home' loans to married couples between the age of 18 and 40 to buy their first house.
It will offer 10 million rupees at a subsidized interest rate of 6 percent, repayable over 10 years.
However, due to high land prices in Colombo, most young couples would have to build their houses in surrounding suburbs.
Daily travel time to Colombo from the suburbs could take between one to two hours each way, due to traffic congestion, wasting time of the youth.
Nayana Mawilmada, head of the property development arm of John Keells Holdings, said last week that people are becoming frustrated over traffic, as they cannot afford apartments in Colombo and have to keep moving to suburbs farther away from the city.
He had said an executive in the private sector should be able to live within the city.
Only around 8 percent of Colombo district homes are apartments, compared to over 50 percent in peer cities, Mawilmada had said.
A 15 percent value added tax will come into effect after April 01, pushing affordable apartments further beyond reach of a majority of Sri Lankans, he had said. (Colombo/Mar08/2019-SB)