The Philippines remains a real estate investment hotspot, and real estate Professionals must take advantage of this prolonged property market boom.
Andy Mañalac, chairman and co-founder of Havitas Developments Corporation, says it is vital that Professionals keep up not only with the latest industry news but more importantly, with the hottest technology trends in order to stay on top in the ever-growing real estate market.
Read on to know more of Mañalac’s thoughts on the current state and future of the Philippine real estate industry, and his tips to the real estate Professionals of today.
ZipMatch: Andy, thanks for speaking with us today. You’ve had a number of executive roles with some of the biggest developers in the Philippines over the years. What does your current business specialize in?
Andy Mañalac: Our company, Havitas Developments, specializes in providing professional real estate development management services to both land owners who would like to develop their properties but lack the proper knowledge, experience and maybe even funding, and to investors (local and foreign) who wish to get into real estate development in the Philippines and require professional advice.
What makes our company different is that our founders bring together decades of cumulative real estate expertise and real world experience in handling billions of pesos worth of properties as senior executives specializing in different fields for the top real estate companies in the Philippines. Unlike the regular real estate management consultancy services or advisory company, we are real estate professionals steeped with hands-on day-to-day experience in the multifaceted complexities of real estate project development and management: from feasibility studies and conceptualization, project planning and design to contractor and project management and implementation, marketing and branding, sales and leasing, all the way to turnover, operations and property management.
So what’s different about the Philippines Real Estate industry today versus 5 years ago?
AM: Quite noticeable now in the real estate industry is how the buyers have become more discerning due to the accessibility of valuable information necessary to make their decision.
While most buyers would still prefer to talk to a real agent, they now do their selections online, check out the different projects and their respective offerings before they talk to the agents.
Furthermore, they can now check the profile of the sellers to decide if they will proceed in doing business with these agents.
You will also notice the market shifting especially starting last year. Lesser middle-priced condominiums in the Central Business Districts have been launched, and the biggest players have started getting into the more affordable and even low-cost housing projects outside Mega Manila.
What will the industry be like in another 5 years? 10 years?
AM: In the next 5 to 10 years, you will see more “practical” projects coming up especially within areas with easy and even direct access to public mass transportation. With the traffic problem that may seem to still take a long time to solve, another common developments that you will see are mixed-use projects with commercial, office and residential units all in the same building. The offices would cater to mostly BPOs or small offices. The residential units will be at the affordable levels to cater to prospective tenants who are working in the same building. Even amenities of condominium projects now are keeping up with the times.
How has technology changed the way Professionals sell or lease properties today?
AM: Real professional real estate practitioners have already realized that it is already inevitable to keep up with technology.
Whether they like it or not, techie or otherwise, they all have to have a strong online presence or, at the very least, establish their easily discoverable professional profile.
It has also “forced” the real professionals, most especially those who are targeting the upscale and international market, to always be updated with the latest industry news and trends to be able to cope with the well-informed clients.
Networking and sharing of listings have never been easier through technology.
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And what about homebuyers?
AM: Saving time and effort has been one of the major advantages of using technology. Both the homebuyers and the brokers can now do pre-selection and even online tripping or viewing of the property through Google maps, street views and even VR goggles before they go for the actual ocular inspection.
Are condominiums in Central Business Districts like Makati, BGC, Ortigas and Eastwood as popular as before? Is there an oversupply today?
AM: For the areas mentioned, I would not call it an oversupply but maybe, we already have enough for now especially the small studio and one-bedroom units. However, the two and three-bedroom units are still very much in demand. Unlike in other countries where the common practice is to build before they sell, almost all of the condominiums here in the country are pre-sold and some developers do not even start their development until at least 50% of their units are already sold. Now, the international developers see the wisdom in this business model and applied it in their system.
We’ve been in a “boom” market for a long time. Will this last?
AM: I can say yes with confidence. With the strong fundamentals laid out by all the previous administrations; with the Philippine population entering the “demographic window”, where we have a proportion of population aged 15 years and younger that is below 30% and the proportion of population aged 65 years old drops to less than 15%, this is the period that is very conducive for business because of an abundant labor supply that will further drive up consumer spending. With the new strong and well supported leadership; the consistently booming BPO sector and steady OFW remittances; with major infrastructure projects scheduled for completion soon and more to be undertaken by the new administration; with the growing tourism industry, we are really going to soar high in the coming years and this is the best time for investors to take their positions. Developers have already learned from the previous cycles and know how to adjust to the shifting markets. Furthermore, the developments are no longer concentrated in the National Capital Region and the other major cities throughout the whole country.
What’s the next “up and coming” areas in the National Capital Region?
AM: Transport-oriented developments, more affordable housing projects along the fringes of the CBDs, mixed-use projects.
What advice do you have for Philippines Real Estate Professionals today? How can they get an edge on the competition?
AM: Establish their image not only as Professional practitioners but real specialists in specific sectors. They should not attempt to be a supermarket of listings; this is why we need to network with other specialists. Build their network not only of clients and co-practitioners but most especially their referral network.
The most important thing is to have an efficient system to build their image and to manage their network, their inventory/listings, their sales production and their lead generating activities.
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