Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year Ender Report: PLC International Philippine Condotel Marketing presented with Top Producer Award 2008

For the fourth year running, PLC International Marketing Networks have been awarded the Top Producer Award for best performance in sales for the Lancaster Brand of Condotels in the Philippines by Pacific Concord Properties President/CEO Ronald Lim

In receiving the Top Producer Award at the companies annual Christmas & New Year celebrations from Ronald Lim, Pacific Concord Properties Inc’s President/CEO, Beth Collingz, PLC Global Pinoy’s Sales Director, said it’s so easy to maintain the top producer spot for four consecutive years because the product - Lancaster Suites, Lancaster Atrium Manila and Lancaster Cebu Resort Residences Condotel developments really sell themselves specially now the Condo Hotel operations at the Lancaster Suites Manila are fully operational and construction well underway on Lancaster – The Atrium.

Partner members of the PLC Group whom were awarded special recognition for their exceptional performance during difficult times and invaluable contribution towards ensuring the success of the various projects and endeavors of Pacific Concord Properties’ Inc., during the year 2008 included David Redfern, PLC’s International Marketing Partner based in the UK and Ken Lee, PLC’s International Marketing Partner based in Honolulu, Hawaii whom recently organized the very successful Hawaii Road Show for the company.

Collingz reported that units in the now completed and operational Lancaster Suites Tower I Manila are virtually sold out whilst the latest condo hotel project, Lancaster – The Atrium Tower A at Shaw Boulevard, Metro Manila is 85% booked and range from studios to three-bedroom penthouse suites with full kitchens.

Owners of Lancaster condotel units can arrange to stay in their units and they share 60% of any rental income. The Lancaster Atrium together with the completed and operational Lancaster Suites Manila, one of the hottest real estate investments in the Philippines, will be the hub for Lancaster condo hotels in the Philippines. The 42-level Lancaster Suites Manila, that commenced operations earlier this year, features studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom condotel units, as well as penthouse suites. Units are available for daily, weekly or monthly rental.

Collingz said we will soon be launching Lancaster – The Atrium Tower B at Shaw Boulevard and a major condo hotel project is still being considered by the Company with several UK Investment Trusts and local investors in Cebu, Philippines. "Apart from the soon to be launched Lancaster – The Atrium Hotel Tower B in Manila, we've got so many clients requesting Luxury Beachfront Condotel Suites in Cebu willing to advance payments for high end condo hotel units," she said. "It's a whole new era of Overseas Investments coming up -- it's not something that we've typically seen in the past and no one in the Philippines fully caters to this high end luxury lifestyle market. (These Investors) are all characteristically looking for a five star hotel spa resort, with all the features of a hotel that can be used for vacations and then rent out the units when not in use”.

Slower growth and higher inflation amidst the global financial crisis highlights the advantages of real estate and other investments the Philippines. Collingz, said a lot of criticism has been leveled at Philippine banks conservative lending policies. It is a tightly controlled industry dominated by only a few banks and their lending habits have been severe, particularly since the 1997 Asian crisis, and that has hindered the country’s economic growth at times. Ironically, the global credit crunch tends to highlight the unique advantage of the Philippines as a destination for foreign investments and tourism, and a preferred source of imports and skilled labor. However, these policies are why the Philippines will not face the same state of affairs that are occurring in the United States and Europe today.

Failures in the Philippine banking system that were seen as a result of the Asian crisis are almost impossible now given the size of the remaining banks that have grown and consolidated over the past 10 years. The Philippine bank’s ratio of non performing loans is minimal due to tight lending rules and very high collateral requirements is a really a blessing is disguise said Collingz.

Philippine banks can weather the current global financial storm. The US and UK property sector financial problems are caused in the main by overfed and unrealistic real-estate markets. Property developers simply borrowed easy funds from numerous financial institutions and built too many units that went unsold, dragging down prices. Moreover, mortgages for property purchases were easy, creating mock buyers unlike the Philippines where property developers, since the Asian crisis, rarely break ground for a project until at least 60% of units are pre-sold eliminating oversupply and empty buildings of unsold units. Collingz said “you cannot buy property in the Philippines with a smile, a whistle and empty pockets. Philippine real-estate lenders require something uncommon to US buyers and that is a substantial cash up-front down payment”

The World Bank said in a quarterly report on 14 November 2008 said that the Philippines is in a better position to weather the uncertainties brought about by the recent global slowdown given the fiscal and other reforms it has undertaken in the last several years. The report cited a strong performance in private investments and construction, better-than-expected crop harvests, higher production in manufacturing and continued remittances from the eight million Filipinos working overseas.

The World Bank still projects gross domestic product to slow to 4.0-4.5 percent this year and to 3.0 to 4.0 percent next year after enjoying 7.2 percent growth last year, the highest in 30 years. Despite the twin challenges of slower growth and higher inflation, the situation is expected to remain manageable. The World Bank stressed the need for the Philippine government to improve tax collections, saying such revenues were crucial for increased infrastructure spending and the social safety nets Manila was planning to sustain growth and protect vulnerable sectors. Recent reforms carried out in Manila have also won praise from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The Philippine government has announced this week that it had paid $2.75 billion in foreign debt ahead of schedule and intends to balance its budget by next year.

While many people abroad are losing their homes because of sub prime mortgage fiasco. On the other hand, decent mass housing units are cropping up across the Philippine urban centers. The Philippine government has decided to stop borrowing money from abroad for new infrastructure and development projects but to finance them locally as the government’s fiscal position has improved over the years. The rationale for the new policy was President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s social payback scheme.

The collapse of real-estate markets in the US and Europe triggered much of the financial disaster we are seeing now. This picture will not happen in the Philippines. Collingz highlights some fundamentals of the Philippine economy as reasons for continued steadiness, namely:

1. The Philippine’s conservative banking system remains stable. Local banks with investments in US derivatives or secondary commercial papers and other highly speculative financial concoctions are very minimal. Although the country will be affected by the current global situation but this will be limited to a certain extent.

2. The youth dominated 84 million population with some 8 million Overseas Filipino Workers’ remitting more than 1 Billion dollars every month continues to power the consumer-driven economy in good or bad times.

3. The slight weakening of the peso against the dollar comes at a time of rapidly declining oil and energy prices, thus curbing any rise in fuel import costs while boosting the price-competitiveness of our exports.

4. Modest improvements in government tax collection efficiency, with some help from the 12 percent EVAT, keep the country’s fiscal position relatively healthy.

With the credit crunch now hitting Europe, Property Investors are looking away from concentrated property areas like Paris and London's West End to other markets all over the world, and Philippine Apart-Hotel, Condo Hotel or Buy-to-Let rental properties fit the bill said Collingz. Institutional investors are trying to diversify their property portfolios through areas like Southeast Asia - with the Philippines heading the list, then Thailand, Japan and China property investments featuring in some portfolios.

The best investment returns are actually going to come out of Asia and emerging markets - the US's day in the sun is certainly over. Investors are moving to new areas to find value said Collingz "More and more of clients for buy-to-let Condo Hotel Investments are coming from the UK and the Middle East. There has been a distinct market shift from US based clients over the past few months and we see that trend continuing throughout 2009.

“A lot of this interest is being driven by the relatively cheap market prices in the Philippines compared to Europe, 100% financing availability and easy no down payment options available for our Condo Hotel Developments, but there are other factors, too. Offshore Property Investors, Foreign baby boomers as well as overseas Filipinos, are looking for ways to maximize their return on investments as they approach retirement, and so are purchasing second homes, particularly Condo Hotel Investments where they can use the Condo for vacations and rent it out through our In-House Condo Hotel Management when they are not using the unit thereby gaining rental incomes that on today’s purchase prices, give a projected ROI on their investments of some 8-14 percent depending upon the mode of payment for the unit”

Collingz maintains the global crisis presents itself as an opportunity for the country to put its best foot forward and be noticed. We just have to do what we have to do, and rise to the occasion. As luck would have it, the global credit crunch tends to highlight the unique advantage of the Philippines as a destination for foreign investments and tourism. It is just a matter of marketing the country all the more vigorously. We have to find alternatives to whatever markets or foreign investors that we may lose. And we will get them in droves.

Thanks to the Philippine real estate sectors own safety nets for installment sales; to our conservative banking system for adhering to sound policies that limit exposure to high-risk ventures, thus minimizing their non-performing loans and assets; to the government for its commitment to continue stimulating and pump-priming the economy while keeping inflation in check. All these amount to continued rise in real estate, housing and construction projects in the Country today.

For further info regarding Lancaster Philippines Condo Hotel Investments please do not hesitate to contact us....

Beth Collingz
PLC International Marketing Networks
Pacific Concord Properties Inc.,
Manila Head Office
Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City.
Metro Manila. Philippines
Phone: Manila [632] 717 1958
Fax: Manila [632] 718 1828

Pacific Concord Properties Inc.,
Cebu Branch Office
Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan.
Cebu. Philippines
Phone: Cebu [6332] 340 0721
Fax: [6332] 495 4938
Web: [Lancaster Condotels]
Web: [Lancaster Suites]
Web: [Lancaster Atrium]

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