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Century Properties beefing up middle-income portfolio

Posted on 09:27 PM, March 02, 2010 [ BusinessWorld Online ]


CENTURY PROPERTIES, Inc. has allotted P5 billion for expenditures this year to meet housing demand from the growing middle-income market, the head of the real estate developer said yesterday.

Additional investments will allow the firm to hike sales to P10 billion this year from P7 billion in 2009.

This year’s P5 billion in capital expenditures is almost double last year’s, Jose E.B. Antonio, chairman of Century Properties, told reporters at the sidelines of the launching of the firm’s Azure Urban Resort Residences, which will rise in Parañaque.

Funds will be “internally generated plus borrowings. The banks now are very open to lending as long as the project [proponent] has a good history,” Mr. Antonio said.

Aside from Azure, projects for this year include the Grand Soho and Knightsbridge Residences in Makati. Azure is a nine-building “residential resort” development on a six-hectare land that will have a construction cost of P6.3 billion.

“It will be a total of P6.3 billion for [Azure’s] nine buildings. We expect to finish this in five to six years,” he added. Of the P6.3 billion, P2 billion will be spent this year.

Sales value of the Azure -- where 30-square-meter units will cost P1.7 million-1.8 million -- will be P12.6 billion, Mr. Antonio said.

The firm is also finalizing deals to acquire properties in Quezon City and Pampanga for more residential development projects.

Century Properties is looking at starting projects in other cities with a minimum population of one million.

“We are increasing the [projects] for the middle class ... We want to cater to the growing middle-income [market],” Mr. Antonio said.

Century Properties is a 24-year-old property developer that initially catered to the high-end market. It has more than 40 projects in its portfolio, including the Essensa East Forbes and South of Market in Fort Bonifacio, and The Casitas and The Moderno at the San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.

The property developer will soon launch subsidiary Century Limitless Corp. for the middle-income market.

Mr. Antonio noted that the property sector produces only 250,000 units per year, less than half the demand of 600,000 annually.

The Philippines is lagging behind Southeast Asian neighbors in terms of home ownership, at 15% of households compared with 92% in Singapore, he said. -- Neil Jerome C. Morales

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