August 07, 2020 at 06:55 pm
Manila Standard Business
Many people are worried over numerous industries that suffer from the coronavirus crisis and it will take years for many of them to recover. For Ramon Ballesca, chief executive of Hoppler, the real estate sector is not one of them.
Is the real estate sector in the Philippines ready for the new normal? Ballesca’s answer is resoundingly, yes.
“A great number of real estate brokerages and development companies have experienced a significant decrease in sales over the past two months, upwards of 50 percent to 90 percent. However, this decrease in transactions will be temporary and felt more so in the short term. The sector is, more so, experiencing a shift in those who will be more likely to purchase and those who will sell,” said Ballesca.
He said sellers of real estate would come from business owners who need capital to support their businesses. “Business owners who face capital constraints will be more likely to sell their properties as a means to have more cash on hand,” he said.
Who are the new property buyers? Ballesca said, “Many sectors will grow as a result of the new normal. These sectors include those related to software, communications, healthcare, biotechnology and logistics. After the dust settles, individuals employed in those sectors will have the appetite to purchase property. After all, here in the Philippines, the trusted investment of choice historically has been real estate.”
How will the real estate sector operate in a world where safety measures are more pronounced? “The truth is, the real estate sector in the Philippines had already been practicing many of the ‘new’ measures to stay safe. The majority of us already have been working from home. We correspond through Viber, WhatsApp and other effective online means,” said Ballesca.
Contrary to Ballesca’s statement, many people prefer to visit a property before purchasing. Ballesca said while this is true, the real estate sector had already been working to at least minimize contact.
“We already used virtual 3D property tours. We show properties one household at a time, properly social distancing. And, we schedule all of our property viewings, allowing for better contact tracing.” He said.
“Take pre-selling properties. This month, we plan on releasing an end-to-end online booking system which allows you to shop for properties, chat with an expert agent online and pay your reservation fee via credit card or mobile wallet, all in one place. Leading real estate developers such as Ortigas Land, Arthaland, Greenfield Development Corp., Phinma Prism, DataLand, iSoc Land and Golden Topper are leading the charge in selling efficiently online and using our system,” he said.
Ballesca reassured that preparation for safety has been placed into action. “Real estate brokers, including us at Hoppler, plan to carry disinfectants to properties. Masks, gloves and other PPE will of course be standard protocol. Rest assured, those of us in the real estate sector are ready to take the new challenges head on. We’re prepared for the new normal,” he said.