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Outlook for high-end unit improving, says Ayala Land

Thursday, June 25, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]


A "GOOD" domestic market along with continued interest rate reduction has helped improve the take-up of Ayala Land Premier’s projects during the previous five-month period.

"Site visits and reservations, which is the leading indicator of the health of the market, and bookings, are all up," Thomas F. Mirasol, Ayala Land Premier assistant vice-president for head, sales and marketing, said in a briefing.

Mr. Mirasol said reservations have been growing since February. As of June, reservations have reached the P1-billion mark, double the P500 million reported in January. "What we are seeing now is that we are already in the upswing and we are looking forward to the second half of the year. We expect July to even exceed this month’s performance," he said.

The company will launch three projects this year — new lots in Montecito Tranche 1, which he said is almost sold out; Ayala Greenfield Estates Phase 6; and the Anvaya Cove neighborhood seven.

Ayala Land, Inc. President Antonio T. Aquino said the improvement in the property sector was a "case of a good domestic market."

Customers were "sentiment-driven" during the fourth quarter of 2008, with most of them, especially overseas Filipinos, wary of parting with their cash. But the local economy managed to show some resiliency, Mr. Aquino said.

"The domestic market compensated for the [decline in overseas Filipinos’ take-up]," Mr. Aquino said, pointing out that the company’s overseas Filipino portfolio has gone down by half from 30% of the total last year.

It also helped that Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has cut interest rates by a total of 175 basis points since December, the longest easing cycle in history.

"The business plan of Ayala Land is premised on the situation today [and] as long as it remains within the same level of economic activity, we are in good position," Mr. Aquino said. Shares in Ayala Land went down by P0.30 to P8.40 yesterday. — Kristine Jane R. Liu

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