Thursday, June 25, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]
CEBU CITY — Amid the global financial crisis, Cebu’s real property developers are being urged to promote the province as an ideal site for second homes.
Joel Mari S. Yu, managing director of the Cebu Investment Promotions Center, said members of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association (Creba) Cebu chapter should consider tapping this emerging market as well as other innovative ways of marketing their products.
"They should market Cebu as the best place in Asia where people would want to own a second home," Mr. Yu told Creba members. Among the prospective buyers of second homes are tourists, foreign direct investors, retirees and overseas Filipino workers.
Mr. Yu noted that value of properties in Cebu is higher than those in other areas outside Metro Manila. Cebu’s proximity to the resort islands of Boracay and Bohol also makes it an attractive place to live in, he added.
Cebu itself has its own attractions, having been listed as the seventh best island destination in Asia-Oceania by tourism magazine Conde Nast.
Jaime A. Cura, national president of Creba, agreed that promoting Cebu and the rest of the Philippines as an ideal location for a second home would be good for the industry.
"Nothing beats the climate and the beaches of the Philippines. We are adaptable and the least biased of foreign culture," Mr. Cura said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Yu said the government should revise policies so foreigners could buy a house and lot here and easily acquire a visa for an indefinite stay in the country. Currently, only the retiree’s visa offers such a privilege.
The Special Resident Retiree’s Visa is issued to special non-immigrant residents who wish to live, work and study here in the Philippines. They could still travel abroad and re-enter the country anytime. However, this type of visa caters only to a limited number of foreigners. — Darlanne R. Sino Cruz