Monday, February 02, 2009

Déjà vu in Philippine Real Estate Investments

Condotel Marketing Company sees sustained growth in the Philippine Real Estate sector despite Global financial crisis

The global financial crisis continues to depress the major economies of the world. It began with the US which has been experiencing a recession since December 2007 a like a global virus quickly spread to the UK. The tsunami effect of this financial catastrophe has affected the economic growth of emerging economies such as the Philippines. From an outstanding GDP growth of 7.3 percent in 2007, the economy is now conceding to a lower than expected expansion within the vicinity of 4.5 percent according to economic experts. But will this affect the boom in Philippine Real Estate Investments?

There seems to be no relief on the horizon as a widespread decrease in economic activity is expected to continue in 2009 as funds to support business activities across all sectors of the global economy dry up. This is not new to the Asian region, where the Philippines is situated. It’s “déjà vu’ for the Philippines with recollections of the 1997 Asian financial crisis remaining all too vivid for affected sectors of the economy such as banking, real estate and construction.

The question to ask now is how will the global financial investment industry move on from this? “It’s back to the basics for 2009 as the remaining liquid investors flock to traditional investment instruments such as direct investments and ownership of real estate. The way to go is revisiting investment opportunities from bricks and mortar businesses or companies which have a physical presence that offers face-to-face customer experiences,” says Beth Collingz, overseas marketing director of PLC Global, lead marketing partners for the Lancaster Brand of Condo Hotels in the Philippines.

Moreover, highly populated countries like the Philippines which, among other sources rely on export revenue; can fall back on its human resources to survive the global financial crisis. The law of supply and demand tells us that if the Philippines’ export sector is on the downturn because of the recession in the global export market, it can shift to its huge internal market to compensate a shortfall in exports into manufacturing for domestic consumption.

Previously, diversity of portfolio investments lured most equity funds to invest in high-risk and high-yielding liquid assets and financial instruments such as mortgage backed securities, credit derivatives and hedge funds. Now, real estate remains a safe bet for investment.

Hosting their weekly simultaneous web conference with international realtors and estate agents across North America, Australia and the UK on the topic “Effects of Global Crisis and the Philippines, Collingz said developers in the Country are still experiencing good retail sales levels across the board.

Collingz allayed fears of some real estate brokers, sales and marketing agents that the real-estate boom is heading for a bust. “The problem is the mindset of marketing people whom are quick to talk negatives and then force themselves into a box dealing with the wrong mindset and mistaken buyers for their developments and not the global financial crisis that we have no control over.

If you know your trade and you are offering a good product “the market is here to stay so why rock the boat” she said, even as she advised investors to become more astute in their choice of investments. “People have to realize that markets, especially in real estate, go in 10 year repetitive cycles. Compared to today’s situation, on world escalation in fuel and construction material costs, we have had far worse to contend with in the past two cycles the real-estate industry in the Philippines and South-East Asia in general, has experienced. It was by far worse times during the late ’80s and the devastating effects of the Asian financial crisis near the end of the ’90s with a very limited market base” said Collingz.

With the arrival of the internet and communications technology, the whole world suddenly became our market in the Millennium. It is now a global market and with our Condo Hotel developments, sales volume from among near 10 million Filipinos abroad combined with foreign investors from Asia, Europe and the Middle East, remains on the increase.

In order to maintain sales momentum, current marketing trends simply have to change. If you compare the situation in the late ’80s to today, people forget the telex machine had just become redundant and communication was limited to sending a fax offer to buy real estate. A top of the line computer was Apple IIE. Cellular phones were few and far between and the internet was not even around. Ergo, Philippine real-estate investors were merely comprised of wealthy local Chinese businessmen.

During the late 90’s Asian Crisis, not many people used the internet. Now it’s 2008 and a very different ballgame. Today’s technology, unheard of 15 to 20 years ago, has for the most part contributed to sales and marketing efforts of developers and will continue to do so. It is the communication factor that will drive sales of Philippine real estate upwards through 2009 well into 2012 and beyond said Collingz.

Now I receive daily calls and numerous emails from prospective buyers in Australia, Hawaii, New York, Doha, Dubai and the UK. I even get calls from clients located in Fiji and Mauritius. During the previous crisis years I didn’t get any. To maintain sales, its really a simple matter of being organized, having a great development to market with global appeal, an excellent developer, focus, mind set, intelligence, time, enthusiasm and dedication said Collingz whose company is a consistent top producer for the Lancaster Brand of Condotel Investments in the Philippines 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Whilst some agents dwell on the number of Philippine properties bought by Filipinos based in the US has began to fall because of the credit crunch, it is a blow but not significant as there are new investment clients out there and we do not focus on the US as a sole marketplace for our sales said Collingz.

“Global investors are looking to replace failed pension plans and other future saving schemes with a solid investment in real estate. Many are looking for investments that will give them an income for retirement. Savvy investors are now looking for a more solid investment with potential for monthly income and Philippine Condo Hotel investments are ideal because Philippine Hotel rates are the same if not more expensive than those in the US or Europe but the entry level to purchase real estate is only about 10% of what you would have to pay for a Studio in Manhattan” credit crunch or not she added.

There are also indications that the Russians may take up some of the slack. First-time Russian overseas buyers are now looking at South-East Asia and particularly the Philippines. Overseas property specialists, David Stanley Redfern Ltd., whom are Collingz’ marketing partners based in the UK, have predicted sustained growth in the real estate sector of at least 24% per annum in the Philippines, for the next 5 years.

Further fuelling real estate development is the fact the Philippines remains undiscovered as far as British and many European investors are concerned. Yet because of its close links to the US, English is widely spoken and it is well regarded for its people, affordable living, beaches and diving. It’s a whole new market enthused Collingz. “Buying property here is easier than many people think and investment from overseas in tourism real estate is growing, especially in the resort areas of Cebu and Manila itself where rental potential is good”.

However, anyone considering Philippine Real Estate Investments should move at this moment and lock in at current price levels. Buyers whom reserve now can take advantage of current prices locked in for their units and see an immediate equity return on their investment said Collingz.

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 Office
Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan. Cebu. Philippines
Phone: Cebu [6332] 340 0721
Fax: [6332] 495 4938
Web: [Lancaster Atrium Manila]
Web: [Lancaster Suites Manila]

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