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Real estate is alive and well on Sri Lanka's sunsoaked Southern Coast
Friday, 24th November 2023
Source : Bill Barnett

Last week, I made my first post-pandemic trip back to Sri Lanka, the trip was to look at the latest trends in the property and tourism sectors.

The country remains a personal favorite, despite its many up and downs over the past 30 or so years.

There is little doubt the prolonged political crisis has spurred an outbound migration of many talented hospitality professionals and entrepreneurs.

With elections coming next year, the path forward is unknown. But there is a mounting return of tourists especially to the Southern Coast.

I met up with longtime tourism personality Jack Eden who runs the respected Eden Villas out of Galle. For luxury rentals, 2023 has seen sustained demand in the South. Some of the notable markets are Europe, Russia, and the Middle East.

While viewing the upcoming winter season through March, many properties are booked out.

While Russians have yet to be major property developers, they are renting and becoming a strong long-stay market. Sri Lanka now has pushed out the 30-day visas for Russians to 180 days (6 months). Another option is a one-year business visa.

The South Beach areas are becoming popular for small-scale investment for Eastern Europeans especially Hikkaduwa and emerging areas past Galle.

Walking around Galle Fort, the vibe has continued to improve, and even some new boutique hotels such as The Charleston. Some old icons such as Sun House in the hills above Galle are just reopening under new management.

A new band of part-time and full-time overseas residents is now growing from Unawatuna through Ahangama to Welligama. These are not only Russians but a wide variety of nationalities. Heading further to Hiriketiya and beyond is seeing new investors in the area.

I was able to meet up with Lanka Real Estate’s Buddhima Perera to talk about luxury villa sales. There have been a few notable trades along the coast at the USD5 million dollar level.

Some investors are now looking past the South to the East Coast to Arugam Bay and more remote areas. These are no longer just about seasonal surf but about nature and long endless beaches.

While Sri Lanka’s risk profile for investment has some uncertainty, where in the world does not these days? The visa regime of business and retirement visas is positive, despite high bank interest rates.

For those looking for an amazing place under the sun in Asia, Sri Lanka’s South Coast remains a strong contender. If you haven’t visited lately, my advice is to get there soon.

Bill Barnett, Hospitality & Real Estate Advisor / Tech Entrepreneur / Sustainability Advocate / Writer & Managing Director, C9 Hotelworks Company Limited 9 Lagoon Road, Cherngtalay, Thalang, Phuket, 83110, Thailand (Office located at the entrance of Laguna Phuket) T: +66 (0)76 271 535 / F: +66 (0)76 271 536

www.c9hotelworks.com

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