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Philippine housing market in best shape in 20 years

'Phl property market in best shape in 20 years'

'By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes (The Philippine Star) Updated June 21, 2012

'MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is now experiencing the best real estate market in the last 20 years, real estate and advisory firm CBRE Philippines said yesterday.

'CBRE Philippines chairman and CEO Rick Santos said the local property market is turning green into gold, and that the country is experiencing democratization in the housing sector – from a nation of renters to owners – based on low interest rates and financing schemes.

'He also pointed out that the country is no longer the sick man of Asia and is now the sweet spot for investors. “All eyes are now moving from the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) economies to TIP (Turkey, Indonesia, Philippines) economies. The Philippines is becoming the lifeboat for many US and European companies that need to outsource in order for their businesses to survive and actually preserve jobs back in the US and Europe. And as the outsourcing and offshoring sector gains strength in the country, we see more occupiers and developers prioritizing flight to quality, with green buildings becoming more the norm than the exception,” he said.

'Santos likewise noted that pre-leasing is back while the office sector goes from strength to strength, with a surge of pre-leasing commitments in the central business districts. Green buildings, he added, are future-proof investments.

'CBRE said in its mid-year briefing that the residential industry continues to feed on strong demand from a broader market in 2012 and onward.

'It noted that bank lending rates are still on the downward trajectory, sustaining the liquidity in the financial system. Demand in the residential sector remains strong due to the increasing affordability of funds for housing acquisitions. The liquidity in the market, it said, enables developers to provide more affordable payment terms to buyers. Low cost of borrowing are likewise spurring development expansions in the residential/housing industry.

'CBRE also explained that the single-digit mortgage rate has democratized the housing ownership in the Philippines, allowing Filipinos to buy rather than just being renters for life. In most cases, monthly rent for a typical household dwelling in Metro Manila are now at par with house and lot or residential condominium products now available to a broader market base.

'It said that the modern Filipino household are becoming condominium dwellers attune to urban living within a live, play and work environment. “Thus, the demand for affordable condominium unit continues to grow year on year. The reason most property developers are shifting to the development of reasonably priced condo units around the Metro is to cater to the growing population who are empowered by the economy to own their dwelling place,” it explained.

'CBRE in its report likewise said the Philippine office sector remains resilient despite the global economic slowdown.

'It pointed out that in the major business districts, where office space requirements are on a steady uptake with no signs of a slowdown, demand is catching up with supply.

'Average occupancy rates during the first quarter hovered at 96 percent. “The demand from the sustained expansion of the outsourcing and offshoring industry and the limited tenant turnover continue to put pressure on the already tight supply situation. Although new supply of traditional and BPO office space is scheduled to come online in the second half of the year, it is not expected to do much to alleviate the supply situation,” it said.

It added that already, about 293,000 square meters of the anticipated new supply, about 232,000 sqm have been precommitted.

“The limited supply continues to put an upward pressure on office lease rates. Despite the rental rate increase in the second quarter of 2012, Metro Manila is still the most cost-effective office destination in Asia, outperforming 18 other CBDs,” it said. CBRE also said that the surge in green buildings will support the robust growth of the country’s property sector. “The benefits of going green are evident not only to the landlords but also for tenants/occupiers,” Santos said.

'He added that Fortune 500 companies, multinational corporations, and even local firms now consider green initiatives as pre-requisites in their day-to-day maintenance and operations.

'Meanwhile, developers are becoming much keener in meeting these demands and are seen to be more willing to incorporate “green” features into their buildings, making them cheaper to occupy.

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Philippines Real Estate Report Q3 2010

Key Insights on the Real Estate Sector of the Philippines ; Although the Philippines’ economy rode out the global financial crisis fairly well, 2009 was a difficult year for most protagonists in the country’s commercial Real Estate sector. Over the course of the year, rental rates fell sharply in all three cities for which we have gathered data – Manila, Makati and Cebu. Worse, protagonists are far from confident that there will be a major recovery in the coming year or so. The conventional wisdom is that market rates will stabilise and/or rise by around 5% in the wake of the elections that are due for May 2010.

In Cebu especially, there appears to have been over-building of commercial Real Estate and consequent over-supply. However, our sources indicate that a more important problem has been the general lack of confidence about the prospects for the Philippines on the part of landlords/owners and tenants. In most of the countries where real estate sectors are monitored, a slippage in rental rates during 2009 – in the wake of the global financial crisis – has resulted in a corresponding fall in yields. Typically, there are few or no transactions, so rental rates have fallen in relation to prices and capital values that were determined some time previously. In the Philippines, by contrast, it is very difficult to generalise about the movement in rental yields over the last year or so. In some sub-sectors, such as Makati offices and Cebu retail space, yields have actually risen sharply. In most others, they have tracked sideways or fallen. Our suspicion is that, in the areas where yields have risen (meaning that capital values have slipped sharply relative to rental rates which were falling) there have been a number of distressed sales. Looking forward, we assume that yields will remain broadly unchanged over the next five years if they are already well into double-digits. In other sub-sectors, we anticipate that yields will rise gradually as investors assess that meaningful improvement in the Philippines’ business environment is unlikely. Interviews with our in-country sources were conducted in late March 2010.

Key Features Of This Report ; This is the latest edition of a new series of industry reports that seeks to identify the key dynamics of the real estate sectors of 44 countries around the world, some of which are developed and some of which are, in every sense, emerging markets. Once again, the questions that we seek to answer for each country remain as follows: What are the main issues that will matter to actors in and around real estate development in the country concerned, both over the long and the short term? What are the main constraints that they face? What are the key insights that one garners when one compares the real estate sector of the country concerned with its peers in other countries?

For Q3 we have introduced a very substantial new improvement to the reports. We have incorporated data and qualitative observations provided to us by commercial real estate agents operating in the countries we survey. As a result we have gained a much clearer picture of the balance between demand and supply in each of three main sub-sectors – office, retail and industrial. We have also introduced a new approach to the forecasting of rental yields, which is discussed in the methodology sector of this report

Source: Business Monitor International

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Philippine Real Estate Market Report - 1st Quarter 2011


Executive Summary


Despite the recent tragedy in Japan and the political unrest in the Middle East, the Philippine government is still optimistic in achieving a GDP growth of 7% - 8% for 2011. Inflation has also started to accelerate, with March at 4.3%, a nine-month high. The ADB recently upgraded its forecast for the Philippines to reach 5% at the end of the year.

Land values are still inching up, albeit at a slower pace than the last quarter of 2010. With the current planned developments in the traditional business districts, land values are expected to grow at an average of 3% - 5% for 2011.

For the full year of 2010, the HLURB issued more than 324,000 licenses, lower than in 2009 by more than 100,000 licenses issued. Leading the pack, high-rise residential licenses continued to rise, accounting for 17% of all licenses issued. The low cost segment, where the majority of the backlog for housing is coming from, increased by only 6%.


Bonifacio Global City increased its office stock by 30,000 sq m, with three office buildings completed in the First Quarter. Other areas with new supply are Alabang, Eastwood City, Pasay City and Quezon City.

Rents in the Makati CBD continued to climb by 1.2% for Premium buildings, to P820 per sq m, and 2.4% for Grade A buildings, averaging P680 per sq m.

With a high take-up of about 40,000 sq m, the vacancy rates in the Makati CBD decreased further, to 3.8% from the previous quarter’s 5.4%. The Outsourcing & Off-shoring industry is still the major driver in occupying space across all submarkets tracked by Colliers, although Makati is still the preferred address of traditional offices.


For the First Quarter, Bonifacio Global City has about 500 units recently completed and about 2,500 more in the pipeline, more than 30% of the total inventory expected for 2011. For the Luxury segment, the market is awaiting the anticipated Raffles Residences in Makati, which is set to be complete by year-end.

Vacancies in the Makati CBD and Bonifacio Global City continually widens at the 9% level for the First Quarter, compared to 6% in the previous Quarter. In the other major CBDs, vacancies remain stable at the 3% to 4% level.

In Makati, Ortigas, and Rockwell considered as prime locations, and with an availability of Luxury Three Bedroom units, average rents continue to rise and, although there will be no new supply coming in the medium term, long-term prices are still expected to rise, due to the limited supply for expatriate requirements.


Retail continues to grow, with new expansion plans of mall developers gearing towards the provinces. The current trend in Metro Manila are the redevelopment or small-scale expansion of existing malls, there are also new community malls that are seen as a support component for the BPO offices and the residential community.

Vacancies across the super-regional and regional malls continue to be at an all-time low, with occupancy rates at the 99% level, thus pushing rental rates to P1,180 per sq m in the Makati CBD.

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Philippines Real Estate Market Report Q1 2010

The Philippines is gearing up towards the upcoming presidential and congressional elections in May 2010, amid a rising level of political uncertainty. Indeed, the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD will be facing a resurgent opposition benefitting from a revival of democratic fervour stemming from the death of former president Corazon Aquino, who was instrumental in overthrowing the despotic Marcos administration via the 'People's Power' revolution in 1986.

But a fragmented opposition with multiple presidential contenders will probably mean that the incumbent Lakas-Kampi-CMD will remain in power. CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) reported that the property investment market was relatively inactive in Q109, with local investors accounting for the majority of the small number of transactions. Investors are slowly coming back to the table, although it will not be until Q110 that we will be able to estimate with any confidence the level or sustainability of this recovery. Many deals in the current climate have been related to occupational end-use.

Capital values remain relatively stable, especially in the residential market. Transactions and decision-making in the Philippines are reported to be very slow. Developers are now focusing on mid-range and affordable residential projects.

They continue to lobby the government to introduce tax exemptions for mass housing projects as part of a plan to revive the construction industry, which is one of the main drivers of the economy. The run-up to the general elections next year may complicate this lobbying process.

Declining rental values and vacancy rates trending upwards suggest there will be no recovery in H110 in demand for office space. Also weighing on demand is an expected continuing pressure on BPO activities that have traditionally been a large driver of demand.

Having said that, performance is likely to vary from district to district. While comprehensive data remains unavailable for H109, previous indicators and recent news reports suggest a number of additional office projects due for completion outside Makati CBD in the course of 2009 that are likely to make the supply situation worse.

Rental values in Metro Manila have fallen at least 15% in the central business district and, according to CB Richard Ellis in May 2009, office rents in Metro Manila have fallen 20% y-o-y and total occupancy costs by 17.4% over the same period.

Source: Business Monitor International

For more discussions and information about Philippine housing market, visit

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Philippines Real Estate Market Report Q2 2010

Source: Business Monitor International

The Philippines is emerging from the global financial crisis relatively unscathed, while many of its neighbours have experienced deep recessions. The economy’s relative buoyancy is largely due to structural features, such as the fact that the domestic sector accounts for more than 75% of the country's real GDP. This renders it less vulnerable to the trade problems that have engulfed many of its neighbours.

There are still a number of structural weaknesses, especially pervasive corruption, a lack of transparency and regulatory inconsistency; however, the economy’s relative openness to trade and investment serve as a boost to business.

Politically, there is uncertainty over who is likely to win the presidential and congressional elections in May 2010. The gap has narrowed between the two frontrunners, Benigno Aquino III of the Liberal Party and Manuel Villar Jr of the Nacionalista Party.

The Philippines’ property investment market remains relatively stable. With the state of the world economic situation, and the uncertainty of the approaching presidential and congressional elections in May 2010, property decisions and transactions are reported to be very slow.

In the residential market, capital values have held up, and activity has been low.

In the office market, there is a general oversupply of office space, and a continuing weakness in demand, leading to falling rents and increasing vacancy rates. The outlook for this year is not promising, at least for H110.

The industrial property market in Manila remains flat, but there are some signs of improvement. Exports are recovering slightly, leading some companies to consider expansion plans.

For more discussions and information about Philippine housing market, visit

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