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Key provincial cities showing strong property sector growth

By Mark Louis F. Ferrolino
Special Features Writer

GROWING interest from local and foreign investors, strengthened by the national government’s infrastructure push, is fueling the demand for residential and commercial properties in provincial cities.

Online property marketplace Lamudi said Pampanga, Cavite, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod and Davao registered a significant increase in leads, or the number of prospect buyers generated, on the platform.

Pampanga posted the highest jump in leads year-on-year with 873%, followed by Cavite and Cebu with 298% and 274% increase, respectively. There was also rising interest in Iloilo, Davao and Bacolod.

Lamudi Philippines Chief Executive Officer Bhavna Suresh said during a roundtable discussion in Makati last week that the 800% plus increase in leads in Pampanga signals discussions to figure out what’s happening in the province.

According to Joey Roi H. Bondoc, senior research manager of Colliers International Philippines, there is on-going expansion of office and retail developments in Clark, Pampanga. These projects have given rise to the demand for residential developments, especially condominiums, in the province, he said.

For Jose Fernando Camus, senior consultant of Bertaphil, Inc., Clark is developing rapidly.

“It’s probably the fastest-growing area now,” he said, noting that developments from office to residential segments are on roll, as triggered by the government’s infrastructure projects and relocation of some government agencies to the province, among others.

The Department of Transportation has already moved its offices to Clark, while the Department of Public Works and Highways is planning to relocate as well.

The government broke ground last year for the construction of the National Government Administrative Center (NGAC) in New Clark City.

Meanwhile, the growth of real estate sector in Cavite — aside from its proximity in Metro Manila — is also attributed to several infrastructure developments in the area.

Richard G. Tay, business unit head of the Commercial Business Group of Property Company of Friends, Inc. (ProFriends), said Cavite is now evolving to be “much more of Metro Manila.”

“With the infrastructure coming in… our colleagues in the industry have really looked at Cavite with a new mindset,” Mr. Tay said. “Fortunately, the private sector that has been coming in are working very closely with the government to really learn from the challenges of Metro Manila.”

The new passenger terminal at Mactan-Cebu International Airport, on the other hand, has attracted even more tourists to Cebu. This, according to Charles Ong, chief operating officer of Innoland Development Corp., has given rise to developments that complement it, such as resorts and hotels.

Mr. Ong noted demand for housing is also growing in Cebu.

“There’s a very big demand for housing, and housing [in Cebu] is actually divided into two segments: One is vertical, which is very present in the city; and there’s also a big demand on the house and lot projects,” Mr. Ong said during the roundtable discussion, noting that the traffic problem in the city drives demand for vertical developments.

For Iloilo and Bacolod, Mr. Bondoc said the projects of Megaworld Corp. and Ayala Land, Inc. are set to boost condominium stock in these cities.

He said that Iloilo and Bacolod, at present, have less than 2,000 condominium units. This is very low compared to Metro Manila’s condominium stock of about 111,000 units as of the end of 2018, he noted.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bondoc said that Colliers has saw significant increase in residential lot prices in Davao for the first three years of the Duterte administration.

Lamudi observed a similar trend. Ms. Suresh noted that the increase in price is surprising, but remains affordable for prospective investors and home seekers.

“We believe that even in the end of this administration, Davao will become a primary residential and office hub in the country,” Mr. Bondoc said.

Emmanuel A. Rapadas, chief financial officer of Torre Lorenzo Development Corp., said businessmen now have the motivation to invest in Pampanga, Cavite, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod and Davao because these provincial cities are now hosting economic activities, and the government is investing heavily on infrastructure.

Also, the projects being rolled out by the private developers have helped the real estate sector in these cities to grow, Mr. Bondoc said.

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