Friday, February 1, 2013

Demand for condos rises as expat population grows in Philippines
Posted: 31 January 2013 2012 hrs

MANILA: The growing expatriate population in the Philippines is driving the demand for posh condominiums.

In the fourth of a five-part series on the booming real estate market in the Philippines, Channel NewsAsia finds out why foreigners are investing in the country's property market.

From his penthouse in upscale Bonifacio Global City, Irish national Gerry Lane can see how the Philippines' real estate boom is transforming the Manila skyline.

Gerry Lane, President of Lane Archive Technologies Corporation, said: "Well right now, I stood here at my window and I counted 25 new high-rise buildings under construction and I find that quite astonishing. The whole skyline is full of cranes over there."

The country's robust real estate sector has convinced him to further expand his company's presence in the Philippines.

Gerry Lane, President, Lane Archive Technologies Corporation, said: "We're investing in both residential and industrial property this year. I'm gonna have considerable expansion here, and I have more confidence right now than I have had in many years here in the Philippines."

The surge in the number of foreign companies especially business process outsourcing companies, have led to a growing population of expatriates in the Philippines, thus fuelling the demand for luxury residential condominiums in the country.

Filipino expatriates abroad are also snapping up upscale condominium units, as the country's economy continues to grow at an impressive pace.

Last year, the Philippine economy grew at a notable 7.1 percent, the fastest rise in nearly two years, cementing its spot as one of the most resilient economies in Asia.

Herminia Miralles, an engineer in Canada, said: "It's the right time now to invest in the Philippines because with the new administration by President Aquino, the economy is getting better."

Property firm Century Properties said their international sales have grown to 35 per cent, as more and more Filipinos and foreigners abroad look to invest in the country.

Jose E. B. Antonio, Founder/Chairman of Century Properties Group, said: "We have units that are being sold for 80 million peso, so that's about US$2 million. But when you compare this to the price abroad, then it's actually very insignificant."

Jesse Soriano, Real Estate Broker in California, said: "A one-bedroom unit in San Diego in terms of dollars would be like maybe US$220,000, and here it was like about US$45,000, and it's a high-end unit like this. Overall it was like, definitely a good buy."

Gio Moreno, Logistics Administrator in the United Kingdom, said: "In UK, you can invest, but it's really expensive properties, especially properties in UK, especially London. And you can afford but... In the beginning, they ask money straight away like 5,000 pounds and then they need to ah... your background, your salary, at least about 50,000 pounds, so that's lots of money, so you'd rather invest money in the Philippines."

Observers said investment upgrades will further attract more investors to the country's real estate sector.

Last year, international credit agencies raised the country's credit ratings to just one notch below investment grade.

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