Bilesha Weeraratne Publishes Research on Urban Housing in Sri Lanka

30 December 2019

IPS Research Fellow and Head of Migration and Urbanization research, Bilesha Weeraratne, published a book chapter titled Urban Housing in Sri Lanka, in Urbanization and Regional Sustainability in South Asia: Socio-economic Drivers, Environmental Pressures and Policy Responses. The volume is edited by Sumana Bandyopadhyay, Chitta Ranjan Pathak, and Tomaz Ponce Dentinho, and published by Springer International Publishing.

Dr. Weeraratne’s chapter examines urban housing in Sri Lanka and shows that the housing market is segmented in terms of housing for low- and high-income population. In terms of two affordability indicators: housing cost as a percentage of monthly household income and monthly housing rent as a ratio of weekly household income, low-income households find housing unaffordable. The findings from hedonic rental pricing models provide insights into the manner in which housing characteristics influence rental prices, in different submarkets for urban housing in Sri Lanka. These findings indicate that planning of smaller housing and housing for low-income population should focus on structural characteristics such as floor area, flooring and roofing in an effort to maintain affordability for occupants. On the other hand, the planning of larger housing and housing for high-income population, in addition to structural characteristics, location and neighbourhood characteristics need to be carefully considered to ensure the required demand by the target population.