If you are looking for somewhere more unusual to buy a holiday or retirement home, Sri Lanka might fit the bill.
It was voted the number one country to visit by Lonely Planet just before the pandemic struck in 2019.
It is an island in the Indian Ocean, to the south of India, with tea plantations, ancient temples, and beautiful beaches.
We take a closer look at a new development in the beachside town of Weligama, where a one-bedroom flat can be bought for little more than £110,000.
Southbeach Weligama is a new development of 106 flats in Sri Lanka – but these are computer generated images as the property has yet to be built
The flats are not due to be completed until December 2024 and so buyers have a long wait before they can move in
What’s the deal?
Southbeach Weligama is a new development of 106 flats in Sri Lanka by the architects Balmond Studio.
It is in the beachside town of Weligama, with each flat offering either one, two or four bedrooms.
The main appeal of this development is its location on sandy Weligama beach.
Where exactly is it?
Southbeach Weligama is in Weligama, on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It is a couple of hours by car from Sri Lanka’s main airport, Bandaranaike International.
Weligama is a fishing town and beach resort, with a sea that attracts surfers as it is one of the best places in Sri Lanka to surf.
What’s the asking price?
There are 106 one, two, and four-bedroom apartments for sale at the development, with prices starting at US$150,000, which equates to $206 per sq ft. It is the equivalent starting price of around £114,000.
The top price range is $1,100,000, the equivalent of £832,978 for a four-bedroom flat.
The flats are for sale on a freehold basis only. The one-bedroom flats are 727-763 sq ft, while the first type of two-bedroom flats are 1,137 sq ft, and the second type of two-bedroom flats are an average of 1,094 sq ft. The four-bedroom flats are 3,318 sq ft.
There are 106 one, two, and four-bedroom apartments for sale, with prices starting at US$150,000, the equivalent of around £114,000
Southbeach Weligama has a strong eco-ethic, with the flats furnished using pieces crafted by Sri Lankan artisans
What is special about it?
Southbeach Weligama prides itself on its eco-ethic approach, overseen by the architect’s managing director – John Balmond of Balmond Studio – who is a dedicated committee member of the Lanka Environment Fund (LEF).
He worked with local communities to provide them with the education and tools needed to bring about long-term ecological change.
With this commitment to sustainability in mind, for every flat that is sold Southbeach Weligama will donate $1,000 to the LEF.
Southbeach Weligama will also use turbines and solar panels to power the lobby and restaurant areas, while rainwater harvesting systems will be used to conserve water.
In addition, Balmond Studio wants to empower local communities by using local produce in the restaurant, and furnishing the apartments with pieces crafted by Sri Lankan artisans.
Do your homework
Building on the development only started at the beginning of this year. It means that the flats will not be completed – and ready to move into – until December 2024 at the earliest.
It leaves current buyers waiting a considerable amount of time before they can move in and there could be delays.
Buying off-plan can be frought with challenges and risks – especially so when buying overseas in an area you can’t simply just visit easily and right-away if you’re in Britain.
There is an added layer of difficulty here as you will be buying off-plan overseas. This introduces other issues such as currency fluctuations.
You may also not know anything about the country you are buying in and so it is important to do your homework beforehand and complete a checklist of things you need to do before buying abroad. It is not for the faint-hearted.
Who would live in a house like this?
Buyers are expected to be primarily from overseas, although it is hoped that some Sri Lankans who want to enjoy a holiday home on the beach will also invest.
Southbeach Weligama is expected to appeal to people of all ages from young couples to families, although it is particularly appealing to surfing enthusiasts due to its location.
There is also lots plenty of other water-based activities due to having the Indian Ocean on its doorstep
The development includes a restaurant, poolside bar, gym, and a 35 metre swimming pool
What is the local area like?
Weligama means ‘Sandy Village’ and is a combination of a lively fishing town and beach resort.
It has seen an influx of boutique hotels, restaurants and spas in recent years. The authorities have been investing heavily in the area, restoring older buildings and landscaping roadsides.
The main strip has boutique shops and restaurants as well as a lively market that attracts tourists and locals.
Weligama is a hotspot for surfing and is home to one of Sri Lanka’s swim-friendly beaches.
Visitors to Weligama can also enjoy the style and culture of nearby Galle and its World Heritage-listed Fort. It is also possible to do blue whale watching off the coast of Weligama, or a short drive inland provides access to safaris with leopards and elephants.
There is also an optional furniture package for buyers at the development, available on request
Where’s the good place for dinner nearby?
There are a number of top restaurants nearby, including Cape Weligama.
What is there for children?
Weligama offers several activities for children. In particular, it is a great place to learn to surf with several surf schools offering lessons for children.
There is also plenty of other water-based activities, including whale watching.
The construction milestones: Breakdown of the payment terms
What property purchase costs do buyers need to be aware of?
There is a service charge of US $0.15 per sq ft.
This equates to $109 per month on the cheapest flats, and $170 per month on the most expensive flats.
What items are included in the sale of the property?
The development includes a restaurant, poolside bar, gym, 35m swimming pool, an art gallery and a music room.
There is also an optional furniture package available on request.
Flat payment terms include an initial deposit of 5 per cent then a further 15 per cent upon the signing of the sales and purchase agreement. Thereafter the payment is linked to construction milestones (see above).
How long does it take to travel there?
Weligama is accessible via Sri Lanka’s main airport, Bandaranaike International – which has direct connections to major British airports.
The flight from London to Colombo is around 10 and a half hours, followed by a three hour drive or train ride from Colombo to Weligama.
Can the properties be rented?
The properties can be bought and then rented out, and the rentals can be done independently.