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Corona trial fails to dampen demand for Megaworld condos

By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) Updated May 30, 2012 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Megaworld Corp. managed to register a 6.9-percent increase in the sales of its high-end residential properties Fort Bonifacio in the first four months of the year despite being dragged into the impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Renato Corona, according to an executive.

In an interview late Monday, Megaworld senior vice president for Sales and Marketing Noli D. Hernandez, said cumulative sales of its high end residential developments in Fort Bonifacio rose to P4.6 billion during the months of January to May 2012 from P4.3 billion from January to May 2011.

These are developments in integrated communities of Bonifacio Global City, McKinley Hill, Forbes Town Center and McKinley West.

Hernandez attributed the increase in sales to increased demand by end- users who are usually young professionals and young businessmen who want to cut transportation cost and effort by living within communities where they also work.

He said this shows that more people now have disposable income.

In January, Hernandez represented the real estate developer in the witness stand in the impeachment court to explain the P10-million discount given for the Bellagio Tower I Penthouse purchased by Corona’s wife Cristina.

The price of the unit, which was originally placed at P24.5 million, was slashed by P5 million because the unit was “semi-bare” and “water damage” caused by a typhoon. It would therefore be more expensive to have the unit repaired and returned to the market. Another P5 million price reduction was implemented because the Coronas completed the payment within a short period of time.

The Bellagio, which is composed of three towers, is one of Megaworld’s developments in Bonifacio Global City.

At the eve of the handing down of the decision on the impeachment trial against Corona, Hernandez said that whatever the outcome of the trial would be, the effect would be “negligible.”

 “I think the effect is negligible. If there are any,” he said. “Life goes on in the business community. It’s not something that we really spend the night worrying about.”

Megaworld reported total revenues of P7 billion in the first quarter of 2012 up by 22 percent from P5.7 billion in 2011.

After Hernandez’ testimony at the Senate there were questions raised on whether real estate developers should conduct a background check on high-profile clients.

 “There is no need for us to do that,” said Hernandez. “It is a very tedious process and its not something that we want to subject our buyers to that.”

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