Urban Housing in Sri Lanka

At the national level, on average housing paints a positive picture, in terms of affordability, homeownership and housing characteristics. Nevertheless, a detailed analysis in to urban housing in Sri Lanka provides a nuanced version of urban housing in Sri Lanka, where the distribution of housing and their affordability is more skewed in urban areas in Sri Lanka. DCS (2018) notes that at the national level on average households spend 19.2 % of their nonfood expenditure for housing. This is the largest single component of expenditure under nonfood expenditure. When disaggregated in to urban areas, this study shows that the share of nonfood expenditure borne on housing is a much higher 27.5 %. Similarly, within urban population also housing has disparities in many dimensions. Moreover, with the transition into Middle income status and related increase in income and expectations, the urban population is aspiring new vistas in terms of urban housing. As such, there are new dynamics in the demand and supply for urban housing, where a clear segmentation is evident in terms of luxury housing and low-income housing and their financing mechanisms. Set against this backdrop, this study aims to examine in the status quo in the dichotomy between high end and low-end urban housing and their affordability in Sri Lanka, with the view to provide policy recommendations to steer Sri Lanka towards a urban population with minimal housing issues.

Research team

Bilesha Weeraratne
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