Thursday, August 13, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]
AFTER MORE than two decades of selling to the high-end market, upscale property developer Century Properties has joined rivals in tapping the middle market, citing a need to expand its customer base.
"The growth of the middle-income market is characterized by the [growth in the number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)]. This means that there is a big market for us in that segment," John Victor R. Antonio, managing director and chief operating officer of Century Properties, said on Wednesday.
Because of the huge number of potential buyers waiting to be tapped, the real estate company is unfazed by other property developers that have already made their mark in the segment, notably Henry Sy-led SM Development Corp. and Consunji-led DMCI Homes, Inc.
Mr. Antonio however was tight-lipped on the details of the firm’s new strategy but said Century Properties hopes to launch its first project for the middle-income market by yearend. This will be outside the firm’s traditional Makati locations and will likely be sold at P2 million per unit.
"We are going to where the OFWs are going [because we feel] that it is where the market is right now," he said, pointing however that 40% of customers are based in the Philippines.
Century Properties is one of the country’s largest privately held real estate developers.
It already has more than 40 property developments in its portfolio, which include Essensa East Forbes and South of Market in Fort Bonifacio. Among its current projects are The Gramercy Residences and Knightsbridge Residences at its 3.4-hectare Century City in Makati, and the third phase of Canyon Ranch, known as the Moderno, in Carmona, Cavite.
On Tuesday, Century Properties, along with partner Meridien Development and Greenfield Development Corp., turned over to buyers its recently completed P3-billion Soho Central project in Mandaluyong.
The two-tower, 886-unit condominium project was the first residential building to rise as part of Greenfield’s planned 22-hectare mixed-used project in the area to be known as the Greenfield District.
Sizes of the units range from a 30-square-meter (sq. m.) studio unit to a 65-sq.-m. corner two-bedroom unit.
Units were sold at P90,000 per sq. m. and buyers had the option to avail a fully fitted room or a bare unit.
Mr. Antonio said the two towers — Shaw Tower and Mayflower Tower — are already sold out, with 60% of the unit owners being OFWs.
The remaining clients are local buyers who are mostly working in nearby business process outsourcing centers.
The company said Soho Central’s walkway to the MRT EDSA Central Station is expected to open before the year ends while commercial areas at the first to third floors will start welcoming customers by second half of next year. — Kristine Jane R. Liu