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Land is a form of accumulating and transferring wealth from generation to generations. It is the foundation of all forms of human activity.  Land which is a scarce natural resource plays a key role in development.  Optimum allocation of land is important to ensure human welfare.  There are two kinds of mechanisms for distributing land resources within a society, land markets and governments.  The main mechanism of distributing land resources within the City of Colombo is the land market.The Sri Lankan economy and society is quite different from what it was in the early 1960s.  The objective of this study is to examine the effect of government policy on the property market and property development.  This study examines the impact of economic, social, legal and policy changes that have occurred during this period on land market in the city of Colombo. It is assumed that the effects of the above facts on land market are reflected through land values and frequency of land transactions.  In order to examine the above relationship, land value data for a 40 year period situated within five wards of the Colombo Municipal Council have been collected from the City Region of the Valuation Department and these data were categorized according to two different periods of economic and political regimes, viz. liberal regimes and dirigisme regimes and a random sample of these properties were inspected and further data collected and analyzed. This study shows that the land market development and changes are associated with different regimes. During the periods of the liberal regimes the country  achieved higher economic growth while the study area experienced expansion of urban land market activities and significant structural changes by reallocating most of the lands from lower-value to higher value uses escalating land values much more than those prevailing during dirigisme regimes.


Key words:  Liberal Regimes, Dirigisme Regimes (two types of economic and political regimes), Economic Growth, Urban Land Market, City of Colombo

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Author Biography

H.M. Premathilaka

Department of Estate Management and Valuation

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka