Changes in ecosystems, landscapes and habitats are perceptible as Property Developments prosper from one city to another, becoming a more sound form of investment over the years whilst bringing stability to the economy. Nadeem Shums (Head of Sales and Marketing in the Property Group and Vice President at JKH) shares his view on the real estate sector.
Nadeem observes notable progress in the nation’s Property Development sector; however, in the face of Sri Lanka’s regional peers, there are many more stages of Property Development that the country requires to cross. “For example, when you consider the percentage of apartments in comparison to landed housing, Colombo is only at around 10%, which is far behind some of the other capital cities in the region such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, etc.,” he explains.
Evolving in time with products, John Keells Properties aims to give customers an assortment of investment options. Considering its steady performance even amidst the pandemic, Nadeem apprises the main reason for the recent spike in the segment’s demand is the reduction in interest rates. As a result, the funds have noticeably shifted to real estate from fixed income space and the stock market. With the rapidly booming urbanisation growth, he believes that the Property Development sector is expected to advance quickly.
Perceiving a solid demand for mid-tier apartments due to the competitive prices, Nadeem talks about the shift in lifestyles as people opt to have small families while focusing on convenient and safer locations with better facilities. Not to mention, heading in and out of the city during peak hours can get one stuck in the gridlock for an exhausting amount of time. Thus, for many such reasons, people are choosing convenience over larger spaces. Mentioning one other factor that causes the natural shift towards apartment living, Nadeem reveals the affordability of a detached house with the increase in land prices. “Even if you want to purchase land in the periphery of the city to build a house, it becomes unaffordable for most young professionals today. Most people do not want to go through the cumbersome process of building a house as well”, he says.
With space for continuous substantial growth in the sector, Nadeem proudly mentions the significant role John Keells Properties plays in the Property Development space of Sri Lanka and bringing to life many of the most notable landmark projects within the heart of Colombo. “Backed by Sri Lanka’s premier listed conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC, we have developed pioneering projects for the city to be in line with our ethos of creating new worlds,” Nadeem apprises.
Having their first successful integrated project at Crescat City with the Monarch and Emperor, he explains the good returns made by the investors due to the convenient connectivity with Cinnamon Grand and Crescat Boulevard. “We then went on to develop Onthree20, which was competitively priced and opened up apartment living to a wider segment of the market”. Furthermore, he talks about the luxury Development of 7th Sense in one of the city’s premier residential locations, Gregory’s Road.
Embarking on one of the most significant cohesive projects yet in Colombo, Nadeem gives an insight on Cinnamon Life, a Property that holds 800 hotel rooms, 427 luxury apartments and a 30 story office tower, banqueting and convention spaces and shopping and entertainment spaces. Considered to be one of the largest private-sector investments in Sri Lanka, the project is expected to attract the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourists from the region. It will position Colombo as the leisure, entertainment and retail epicentre of South Asia.
Considering one other metropolitan project currently ongoing, TRI-ZEN is one of the most competitively priced developments in the city with over 35 amenities and the first fully-fledged smart tech development. It comprises a total of 891 apartments with a mix of one, two and three bedroomed apartments. It is located in the heart of the city on Union Place with all the conveniences located just a few steps away from the development.
Appropriating Nadeem’s opinion on the future of Property Development sales and marketing profession would look like, he remarks, “When it comes to the sales and marketing profession, I would imagine that we would most certainly move towards a Digital-first strategy”. While today, people look at model apartments before decision making, he expects a time to come where their decisions are based on viewing it through an extension of virtual reality, a likely possibility with the advancing ages of technology. “Marketing professionals will need to pay closer attention to data analytics to target the right customer segment with innovative marketing methods”, Nadeem says. Therefore, he explains the need for enhanced skills in the future sector to promote apartments in a different approach than the present.
Shedding light on the purchase of real estate using cryptocurrency in specific matured real estate markets. “Who knows where this space will be in the future! I mean, today you are seeing the Metaverse taking off and people paying real money for virtual plots of land!”
And thus, with an open view on the endless possibilities that the future may bring, Nadeem dutifully participates in magnifying the sector. Operating with ambitious plans to transform the real estate sector in Sri Lanka, John Keells Properties is confidently looking forward to growing exponentially and aligning with the trends seen in other regional countries. “The strong track record of the company, its financial strength and our passion to innovate to provide the best living spaces for our customers is what sets us apart from the rest”, Nadeem expresses.