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Thread: Philippines' property sector is red-hot

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    Default Philippines' property sector is red-hot

    May 1, 2007

    UPFRONT

    Philippines' property sector is red-hot

    By Alastair McIndoe, Philippines Correspondent



    PROPERTY PURSUIT: Eastwood City, a self-proclaimed office and apartment complex, is being built on the outskirts of Manila. Overseas Filipinos are buying property at home as investments. -- REUTERS


    THE talk at a recent dinner party in Hong Kong hosted by one of Europe's largest banks for a group of wealthy clients was centred - surprisingly - on the Philippine property sector.

    'I can't remember the last time investors like this have waxed so lyrically about the Philippines,' said a banker, who asked not to be named.

    Booming demand for office space and condominiums has resulted because of a rise in outsourcing to the Philippines, as well as the purchasing power of the country's more affluent overseas workers. The upsurge, say developers and market analysts, shows no signs of flagging.

    The sector's upbeat prospects are vividly reflected in the share prices of property companies, which have risen by an average of 17 per cent so far this year, nearly double the advance of the Philippine Stock Exchange's main index.

    'The property market is now very much on the radar screen compared to four or five years ago, when nobody even considered this place,' said Mr Lindsay Orr, country head of real-estate services group Jones Lang LaSalle.

    The expansion of foreign companies' 'offshoring' of business functions such as call centres and back-office work to the Philippines has been breathtaking, eclipsed only by India.

    This has created huge demand for large office space in prime areas of Manila over the past years, which developers are scrambling to meet.

    The chances of finding rentable floor area for a sizeable outsourcing centre in the business district of Makati are practically zero these days. Call centres typically need at least 32,000 sq ft of space.

    New rents in Makati rose 15 to 20 per cent last year. 'They'll probably do the same in 2007,' said Mr Orr.

    In the district's top addresses, landlords are raising office rents by as much as 30 per cent for new tenants, with some hitting 1,000 pesos (S$32) per sq metre.

    Thought that is far lower than in most Asian financial centres, it is sky-high by local standards,

    Still, despite a large pool of educated English speakers, rents and salaries here will need to stay competitive as other countries ramp up their outsourcing sectors.

    With no large office buildings opening in Makati this year, new operations are looking for space in other parts of the capital, especially nearby Fort Bonifacio, a former military camp, as well as cheaper regional centres.

    The second city of Cebu is now fast establishing itself as an outsourcing centre, as are smaller cities like Iloilo and the pleasant university town of Dumaguete, all in the central Philippines.

    A decade ago, the Asian financial crisis put paid to the last major rally in the property market here.

    But this time around, said the Philippine Central Bank's Governor Amando Tetangco, the market is being dri- ven by real demand: 'It's different from 1997, when the rise in property prices was due largely to speculators.'

    When Net Group, a property developer focused on projects for outsourced operations, completed its 22-floor Net Square building in Fort Bonifacio last July, it reportedly signed up tenants for the entire leasable space of 194,000 sq ft six months before it was finished.

    Blue-chip developer Ayala Land has managed to pre-lease over half of its 506,000 sq ft complex in Makati before the ground was broken on the project. The $64 million Dela Rosa E-Services Building is set to open in late 2008.

    Going by current estimates, future demand for leasable space for outsourced operations as well as so-called build-to-suit deals for specific clients will be mighty.

    The Business Processing Association of the Philippines reckons that by the end of the decade, 950,000 people will be employed in outsourced operations, nearly a four-fold rise on the current level.

    'We're getting around six to eight visits a week from mostly American companies sizing up whether to outsource to here or to India,' said association executive director Mitch Locsin. 'About half are choosing the Philippines.'

    Based on the association's projections, analysts reckon that by 2010, an additional 26 million sq ft of office space will be needed. That represents roughly the entire office stock in Makati today.

    But only around three million sq ft is currently under construction across the Philippines. Even so, mega projects are coming off the drawing board.

    Ayala Land wants to replicate India's campus-type IT developments in the Philippines, starting with a 37ha site in Manila's Quezon City.

    Early next year, it plans to break ground on a $191 million technology park with shops and residences built around 10 office complexes.

    Mid-priced residential condominiums, with units typically costing S$80,000 to S$160,000, are the property market's other main driver.

    The demand here is being spurred by Filipino professionals working overseas and, lately, enticingly low mortgage rates.

    Some eight million Filipinos - a tenth of the population - live and work overseas. Many are in low-paying jobs, but an increasingly large number are nurses, engineers and other professionals.

    That trend is being closely watched by property developers. As long as the remittances of overseas workers keep growing, there should be no let-up in demand, said Mr Victor Asuncion, research director of property consultants CB Richard Ellis Philippines.

    The Philippine Central Bank expects overseas workers to wire home a record US$14 billion (S$22 billion) this year. A sizeable chunk of that is expected to be spent on real estate.

    Remittances are also keeping shop tills ringing at home, and that is driving the construction of new malls.

    With an eye to buyers from overseas, developer Megaworld now has 40 sales offices in countries with sizeable Filipino diasporas.

    The company, which pioneered the mid-end condominium market in the 1990s, expects 40 per cent of sales for middle-income housing to soon come from overseas earners.

    Its biggest project is a 9,000-unit, 20-tower complex called Manhattan Gardens, on a 5ha site in Quezon City. The first tower, set for completion in late 2011, has been 90 per cent pre-sold.

    The surge in demand from overseas workers is also partly demographic. 'Many professionals who went overseas in the 1970s and 1980s are retiring and buying pro- perty in the Philippines as second homes and invest- ments,' said Ayala Land spokesman Paulo Campos.

    Filipinos are also taking advantage of local mortgage deals, which have never been better.

    Some banks are now offering 25-year mortgages at fixed annual rates of 11 per cent.

    The boom is clearly reflected in the earnings and share prices of the country's five major developers: Ayala Land, Fil-Estate Land, Megaworld, Robinsons Land and the SM Group of tycoon Henry Sy.

    Megaworld is pencilling in a 40 per cent increase in net profit this year after earning 2.04 billion pesos last year.

    Condominiums are the only property that foreigners may own in the Philippines, though ownership restrictions may be relaxed.

    President Gloria Arroyo, her economic managers and many in the business community favour loosening a number of restrictions to attract more foreign investment.

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  2. #2

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    Hello,

    My name is Anthony, would like to know if there are any expat or OFWs interested in investing in condominiums and condotels in the Philippines? The real estate industry is booming especially in the leasing sectors. Many foreigners are investing as it is a viable source of income. If you have savings, I do not suggest you to put it in the bank as the return or their interest rate is very little compared to investing it in a business and If you are having doubts of gambling your money in a business you may not fully know, I suggest you to invest it in a real estate properties like Condotels (Condominiums leased as a hotel for a certain time) it is hassle free as there will be a management for it and you will just wait for the pay ups mostly quarterly per year.

    The return you'll get is way more than what the bank can give and most of these properties are self liquidating so just in case you are worried about the payments for the amortization, the money you'll get quarterly can be used for your amortization. If you have further questions about Condotels or if you are interested in investing into a Philippine property. You can message me @ [email protected]

    Here are some of the projects I personally recommend. Here is the Condotel - http://www.metromanilaproperties.com...club-tagaytay/ and Here is the Condominium http://www.metromanilaproperties.com...daluyong-city/ The locations of these two are perfect for one who is in need of a metro living and one who is in need of a leisure and vacation type of living.

    Hope to hear from you soon =)

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    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jessecol...in-disguise/2/

    Singapore property also go oversea to sell when it become too expensive to sell in Singapore.

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