Elevating the real estate industry with the first credit rating

Brahmanage Premalal, Chairman, Prime Group

Renowned real estate giants, Prime Group, is ready to keep delivering luxury apartments, venturing to new markets and setting new standards to the industry.

Prime Group has been in the real estate game for over 25 years with their driving vision — ‘Committed to creating a better place on earth’ — at the forefront of every project they undertake. With a history of trust and excellence, it is clear why Asia Property Guru awarded them The Best Developer in Sri Lanka, for the last two consecutive years.

This comes among many other accolades the organization has amassed over the past few years. The Group has also set a benchmark for the real estate industry by being the first and only real estate company to obtain a rating of A –(Stable) by ICRA Lanka Limited, a subsidiary of Moodys Investor Service. Within the group are Prime Lands, Prime Residencies, Bhoomi Realty, Prime Finance and HNB Finance (Associate company). Chairman, Brahmanage Premalal, shares their past projects, real estate in the current climate, and what we can expect from the group in 2021. With their big vision in mind, Prime Group made a mark in the real estate arena because of their innovative thinking, flexible approach with customers, and their speed of delivering the final product.

“At the time, customer service post-purchase was unheard of,” reflects Premalal. “But even two or three years after purchase, we still attend to any customer queries or problems. This earned us confidence in the market together with the quality of our land and price.” Soon, the company became one of the most trusted real estate organizations in the country, fighting giants like Ceylinco at the time.

Eventually, they resurrected one of the biggest finance companies in the Ceylinco Group, formerly known as Ceylinco Grameen Micro Finance, and renamed to Prime Grameen Micro Finance. The company then merged with HNB bank, and is now known as HNB Finance PLC where they still keep over 35% shares.

Over time, the group saw that there was a huge market gap in the real estate arena as developers confined all apartments to Colombo, with prices starting at Rs40 million upwards. “We wanted to give the customer almost the same type of facilities, but for a lesser price,” shares Premalal. “So we came up with the novel concept of affordable luxury, and we built apartments starting from Rs10 million upwards. It was a tremendous success!”

Falling under Prime Residencies, the condominium property arm of the company that builds apartments, they launched 44 apartment projects across Colombo and the suburbs. Their flagship ultra-luxury project, Prime Grand, saw them conquer Colombo by being the first and only high-rise guarantying its residents uninterrupted views.

With over 300 apartments, spread over 37 floors that is 160 meters high, this project is an enormous investment. “We started a trend that saw a lot of developers following suit, and we’re happy we could expand the industry,” shares Premalal. Prime Lands spans across the country covering 16 districts with over 4,000 of land and housing projects. Their housing arm, does individual homes and gated communities, Premalal explains.

When choosing an apartment, home or piece of land, it is important to consider all the factors. Often, people look at the interior, specifications, architecture, price, discounts, and payment structures. This all falls under the development of the project. While it is necessary to consider these, it is just as vital to look at the developer.

Premalal encourages customers to ask questions like: Who is going to build and deliver this? What is the company’s track record? Are they trustworthy? Do they have the relevant infrastructure and engineering expertise? Even after completion and purchase, will the developer address any concerns? “Many people have burned their fingers and lost millions of rupees with developers that have not delivered as promised,” says Premalal.

“It is important to check these areas before making any investment. As a real estate organization, we have built decades of trust and excellence, ensuring the smooth delivery of 36 completed projects with Certificates of Conformity (COC). This was yet another enormous achievement for us in such an uncertain market.” The rating also helps to avoid many uncertainties in the minds of the consumers promoting reliability.

COVID-19 saw the economy dip, but Premalal remarks that the reduced interest offered by the government is a significant incentive for people to consider investing in real estate. “If they invest, it helps circulate the money within the country rather than going out.

And, if the investment is in real estate, it will only appreciate over the years. Throughout my life and career, I have never seen interest rates drop so low!” he says. “Over the past 25 years, we’ve seen the average piece of land doubling in value every 4 to 5 years. So, if you have the money, investing in real estate is the best type of investment.”

2021 promises to be an exciting year for the group as they are in the initial stages of an apartment project in the Gampaha town. It is 100 metres away from the Kandy Road and nearly two kilometres away from the proposed highway entrance.

“We wanted to offer a fresh experience of apartment living that is more centered around the lifestyle,” explains Premalal. Sitting on a 13-acre land, this project of 400+ units will include a swimming pool, children’s pool, function area, gymnasium, clubhouse, lounge area, coffee shop and bar, business centre, library, supermarket, doctor’s space, salon, Montessori and daycare centre, walking paths, a laundry area and many others. “Additionally, nobody has provided a fully equipped functional kitchen that people of the apartment complex can run themselves. The introductory offer starts at Rs9.5 million for two bedrooms, which is unbelievable! So this will be the investment of 2021!”

 

Prime Lands spans across the country covering 16 districts with over 4,000 of land and housing projects