PHILIPPINE REAL ESTATE and RELATED NEWS in and around the country . . .

Villar to ramp up AllHome store expansion in 2016

Posted on November 30, 2015 09:51:00 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

By Krista A. M. Montealegre, Senior Reporter

THE VILLAR group is ramping up the expansion of its chain of full-service home furnishing stores AllHome next year that may include its first branch outside Luzon.

Manuel B. Villar, Jr., chairman of All Value Holdings Corp., speaks at the opening of AllHome Vista Place in Quezon City on Nov. 27.

All Value Holdings Corp., the holding firm for the group’s retail ventures, will open eight AllHome stores starting March next year to end 2016 with 20 stores, the company’s Chairman Manuel B. Villar, Jr. told reporters last Friday.

The planned new store launches for next year have surpassed the project annual rollout of 6-7 stores over the next five years that the former Senate president set in April.

“By end of next year, we’ll have 20 stores. So it’s 12 plus 8. I’m just saying that as early March, we’ll be starting the additional eight stores,” Mr. Villar said.

Since launching its first store in 2013, AllHome quickly expanded in the metropolis. The newest branch, the four-level AllHome Vista Place at the Wil Tower Mall in Quezon City, opened last Friday evening.

Next year, AllHome may open its first location outside Luzon, as it sets sights on key urban areas such as Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro, Mr. Villar said.

The Villar group is being guided by its partner HomePro, Thailand’s largest operator of home improvement stores, for its AllHome venture

“They have 60 or 70 (stores). They are the number one player, way of ahead of the number two,” Mr. Villar said, adding that the Thai firm has roughly $3 billion in market capitalization.

He said in April its one-stop shop for home construction, renovation and decoration needs may go public once it reaches a network of 30-40 stores, which may likely be achieved in the next three years.

The expansion of AllHome is seen riding on the robust growth of the residential sector where Mr. Villar also has an interest through Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc., a leading homebuilder in the country.

The billionaire is consolidating his residential and commercial leasing businesses under Vista Land in a deal valued at P33 billion, accelerating its transformation into one of the Philippines’ biggest integrated property developers.

Watch on housing sector tightened

Posted on November 25, 2015 11:20:00 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]
By Melissa Luz T. Lopez, Reporter

THE GOVERNMENT has further tightened its vigilance for any sign of a bubble developing in the property sector, with the central bank now requiring banks to report quarterly on housing loans approved as it prepares to roll out a residential real estate price index (RREPI) early next year.

Circular 892, dated Nov. 16 and posted on the Web site of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), now requires universal, commercial and thrift banks to submit quarterly reports on approved residential real estate loans (RRELs) that will indicate the month a residential real estate loan was granted/booked; type of the property (whether new, pre-owned or foreclosed); location and total appraised value of the property; type of the housing unit (single detached, single attached, duplex, townhouse/accesoria/detached row house, apartment or condominium); appraised value of the housing unit; total floor area, number of floors, bedrooms and unit’s age; lot area and its appraised value; housing segment to which it belongs; acquisition cost; as well as names of developers.

Covered are loans granted to individual households for the purpose of financing acquisition of houses “and any associated land that is or will be occupied by the borrower,” the circular read.

Excluded are loans meant for the purchase of vacant lots, improve existing homes or ancillary activities like buying and selling as well as rental and management of such properties.

The requirement covers both Metro Manila and areas outside the national capital.

“The bank quarterly report on RRELs is designed to provide information for the generation of the REEPI which would provide a valuable tool in assessing the real estate and credit market conditions in the country,” read the circular that was signed by BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. and which takes effect 15 calendar days from publication either in the Official Gazette or in a general-circulation newspaper.

The move was approved by the BSP’s Monetary Board in its Oct. 29 meeting, the central bank said in a statement yesterday.

“Information from RRELs will provide information for the generation of a residential real estate price index,” the statement read.

“The construction of RREPI based on banks’ approved housing loan applications is a first in the Philippines and is expected to provide a valuable tool in assessing the real estate and credit market conditions in the country,” the BSP explained.

“The availability of data on property prices is one of the information gaps identified in the Group of Twenty report following the Global Financial Crisis, and is also included in the Special Data Dissemination Standard Plus categories under Financial Soundness Indicators that member-countries of the International Monetary Fund should adhere to within five years from the time the country signifies its intent to participate in this global undertaking.”

Earlier this year, the BSP had said it planned to establish the RREPI by “early third quarter”. Asked yesterday when the index will likely be established, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said in an interview: “Next year... we are still looking at it. Siguro (Maybe) within the first half.”

To be sure, the central bank has been monitoring property prices, but it does not have an index that enables tracking data over periods as well as across locations and market segments to determine whether a bubble is forming, thus, requiring preemptive action. So far, the BSP has been relying on standard indicators like price-to-earnings ratio to measure developers’ valuations as well as price-to-income ratio to ascertain housing affordability.

Following the release of the new circular, banks must now submit data covering the second and third quarters by Dec. 29. Succeeding reports must be submitted by the 20th banking day after every quarter.

Banks that fail to comply with the quarterly report deadlines -- as well as those that submit erroneous reports -- face monetary penalties for delayed reporting, the circular read.

Sought for comment, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said in an interview on the sidelines of a budget hearing at the Senate: “It will tell you if you are getting hot and then you have to watch out kasi, alam mo, ‘yung mga property bubbles can be so destructive”.

A housing bubble is marked by rapidly rising prices as developers undertake more and more projects in a bid to meet projected increasing demand that eventually does not materialize, leading to a crash in prices. Speculation -- by those who buy such properties not to occupy them but in hopes of later selling these for a profit -- is cited as a key cause of unrealistic industry expectations.

“A real property price index is a welcome development as there is a need to have a publicly available index to measure developments in the sector,” Ildemarc C. Bautista, head of research at the Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., said in an e-mail.

“Current asset prices in the sector are not really worrisome per se as these are really expected given the good purchasing power of consumers,” Mr. Bautista assured.

“What might prove worrisome down the road are asset prices in the sector that are escalating too quickly, which may indicate highly speculative activities,” he explained.

“Such an index can thus be very helpful to have a pulse on prices, for the use of the regulators and the banking sector itself to gauge developments in the sector.”

Property loans extended by banks totaled P1.176 trillion last semester, 25.8% more than the P934.89 billion lent in 2014’s comparable six months. Of this amount, home loans rose by 17.3% to P411.18 billion from P350.55 billion. RRELs made up 34.95% of the total loan portfolio of local banks last semester, down from 37.81% in the first five months.

Asked if he is concerned that a bubble is forming in the entire property industry, Mr. Balisacan replied: “I don’t think so. Our fundamentals are quite strong and the vacancy rates, especially for offices, are very low.”

“There may be some over build-up already for certain segments in the market, but the backlog for mass housing ay napakalaki, lalo na mga (is so big, particularly in) low-income housing.”

In October, Alistair Hughes, Jones Lang LaSalle, Inc. chief executive officer for Asia Pacific, noted that property prices in the Philippines remain reasonably and competitively priced, while property consultancy KMC Mag Group, Inc. in September said a recent drop in sales was not due to lower demand but to fewer projects launched.

SM Prime keen on mall expansion in Visayas

Posted on November 24, 2015 09:25:00 PM [ Businessworld Online ]
By Louine Hope U. Conserva, Correspondent

ILOILO CITY -- SM Prime Holdings, Inc. is bullish about expanding its network of malls in the Visayas, as it is set to open the country’s fourth biggest mall in Cebu on Friday.
THE LOGO of SM Prime Holdings, Inc. is seen in this file photo. -- BW FILE PHOTO

“It is going to be one of the biggest malls in the whole Philippines. That will be the biggest mall in the whole Visayas,” said Steven T. Tan, senior vice-president of SM Supermalls, at the recent opening of the new wing of the SM City in Iloilo.

Mr. Tan said they are looking at making more investments in other parts of the Visayas, where they see growth in the local economies.

“We’re very bullish on the Visayan market because we really feel that it has still so much potential for growth,” he said.

The SM City Iloilo’s new north wing building, which cost P1.3 billion, has four levels with a total floor area of 21,124 square meters (sqm.) intended for additional retail shops, dining establishments and gaming space.

With a land area of 170,000 sqm., SM City Iloilo is the largest mall in the Western Visayas region.

Iloilo City Rep. Jerry P. Trenas said SM’s expansion reflects the economic upturn of the city.

“The past five years have been a testament of the rapid development of Iloilo. I foresee more commercial spaces to be constructed here and hopefully we will have a market for all of them,” he said.

In Bacolod City, the SM City mall was also recently expanded with the addition of SMX Convention Center.

Avida putting up P6.8-B twin condo towers in BGC

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 25, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Avida Land, a subsidiary of property giant Ayala Land, Inc., is building a two-tower residential development in Bonifacio Global City with an estimated combined cost of P6.8 billion.

The company launched the first P3.4 billion-tower of Avida Towers Turf BGC in October and expects to complete this and be ready for turnover by March 2020, officials said in a press briefing yesterday.

Herbert Herrero, Avida Senior Division Manager – Project and Strategic Management Group and South Luzon Area Head said the first tower would have 36 stories and 537 units in one-, two- and three-bedroom configurations.

He said both towers would each offer 537 units across 30 residential floors, plus six levels of podium parking. Units range from 37 square meters to 58 sqm in size. Selling prices are between P5.2 million and P10 million.

 Avida expects to launch the second tower next year.

“Historically, Avida has been launching one tower a year,” he said.

The project offers low density with only 18 units per floor, to ensure residents’ privacy.

Amenities include an adult and kiddie swimming pool, a stand-alone clubhouse, children’s play area, garden area, a view deck and an indoor gym.  It is also bounded by streets on all sides.

Avida has established strong presence in the premier district, with eight residential and office projects worth a combined P32 billion in just five years.

Of the total cost, about P24.3 billion has already been sold. The company has a total of 3.2 hectares of land in BGC, of which 2.8 hectares are currently being developed.

Existing developments in the area include residential properties like The Montane, Avida CityFlex Towers, Avida Towers Verte, Avida Towers 34th Street and Avida Towers BGC 9th Avenue, complemented by the office developments One Park Drive and Capital House.

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