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BSP to release new resd’l real estate price index by Q3

By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 19, 2015 - 12:00am
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MANILA, Philippines - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas may release the new residential real estate price index by the second quarter of this year, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said last week.

Guinigundo told reporters the central bank is currently collecting first quarter data for the property index, which will serve as an indicator of house prices in the country.

“We’re collating data… first quarter data so maybe it will come in in the second quarter,” Guinigundo said, adding construction materials and building permits will be the main components of the index.

The BSP executive last year said the index will initially cover Metro Manila and nearby provinces but there are plans to expand this to other key cities in the country.

The central bank aims to build at least 20 years of data for the new property index aimed at also helping regulators spot any potential asset bubbles in the sector, Guinigundo said.

The BSP has been continuously monitoring banks’ exposure to the housing sector given the sustained robust growth of the sector and rising prices of houses, offices, and lots.

Latest central bank data showed banks’ real estate exposure jumped 23 percent to P1.159 trillion as of end-September last year.

The bulk of these were real estate loans, which grew 24 percent to P977.05 billion, while the rest were investments in the property sector which also increased 25 percent to P384.119 billion.

The central bank has deployed policy actions to better guard banks’ exposure to the sector and ensure there are no inflated prices in the property sector, in line with its financial stability mandate.

Last year, the BSP has required banks to undergo a separate stress test to assess the impact of their exposure to the real estate sector in case borrowers fail to pay their loans.

Banks need to maintain a common equity tier 1 capital ratio of at least six percent and a minimum risk-based capital adequacy ratio of 10 percent even if 25 percent of their exposure to the sector has been written off.

Back in 2012, the BSP also enforced stricter rules for banks’ reporting of their exposure to the real estate sector.

The system was amended so banks would also report loans to developers of socialized and low-cost housing, and to individuals, and credit supported by non-risk collaterals or Home Guarantee Corp. guarantee.

Banks were also required to report their investments in debt and equity securities that finance real estate activities.
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