PH real estate resilient amid pandemic
“It should be business as usual for [property] investors,” said Professor Enrique Soriano III, Wong + Bernstein Advisory Group’s executive director, in a recent interview. For those interested in investing in property, “managing the risk as a result of the current uncertainty is the only hurdle for property players to overcome,” he averred. Soriano’s bullish view shines amidst the lowered local GDP forecasts by economists (like those from the UnionBank of the Philippines) and global firms (such as JP Morgan Chase and JLL Global), because of fluctuating real estate investment. Industry observers pronounced the local real estate market as decidedly resilient, with the large unmet demand for housing a major contributing factor. It is seen to continue being a local, long-term play with attractive relative returns compared to other asset classes. “Behaviorally, in any downturn, the real estate market will naturally correct itself,” Soriano explained. “The upside is clear: it is a very resilient sector struggling to cover more than 6 million housing units; all these housing requirements are based on real demand,” he added. Commercial real estate poised for comeback A Cushman & Wakefield report picked commercial real estate as the most resilient sector, owing to the long-term nature of properties that will allow losses to be regained sooner than later. Real estate services company Santos Knight Frank (SKF) identified key trends that would help shape the industry as a whole throughout the year. These include office-sector-driven growth, mainly from the BPO sector as it expands within and outside the metropolis. Real estate companies like AboitizLand continue to prepare for this expected upswing with integrated townships such as LIMA Estate in Lipa, Batangas, where it plans to develop commercial buildings and sell commercial lots in its upcoming business district. The industrial and logistics sectors are also seen to expand outside Manila with the increasing demand for warehouses and distribution centers, especially as e-commerce booms. The hotspots for expansion are seen to be CALABARZON, Cebu and in the NLEx-SCTEx-TPLEx corridors in North Luzon. AboitizLand remains prepared for this inevitable expansion amid the pandemic with industrial hubs like LIMA Technology Center in Batangas, and MEZII and West Cebu Industrial Park (WCIP) both located in Cebu. Plans are underway for LIMA and WCIP expansions to create additional inventory to take advantage of this demand.
The general consensus from various other sources? Buy property now versus when economic recovery from COVID-19 begins. People with cash on hand, especially, could benefit from being able to negotiate for better, discounted prices on select properties.