By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 7, 2015 – 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means has approved tax incentives for first-time homebuyers to make homeownership easier and more affordable.
The panel, chaired by Marikina Rep. Romero Federico Quimbo, approved the proposed First-time Homebuyers Act upon the recommendation of the Committee on Housing and Urban Development and the Committee on Appropriations chaired by Rep. Alfredo Benitez of Negros Occidental and Isidro Ungab of Davao City, respectively.
Rep. Arthur Yap of Bohol is the principal author of the proposed law.
The incentives are exemption from payment of transfer tax and a five-percent discount on the cost of a dwelling unit. The seller or developer who gives the discount can claim it as a tax credit for the year it was given.
Yap said his bill aims to enable the government â€œto achieve its sworn goal to alleviate the condition and welfare of a majority of the Filipino families, especially those who have the basic need for shelter.â€
â€œWith this measure, such goal can be partly achieved. It would make it easier and affordable, especially to low and middle income groups, to finally acquire the dream home they may call their own,â€ he said.
He said his proposed law, if enacted, would not only give first-time homebuyers incentives but would further fuel the construction boom, which would become the catalyst of economic growth and development.
â€œIt would strengthen, promote and support the component activities of housing production and finance. Finally, it would increase private sector participation in the investment of their funds into housing finance, construction and development,â€ he added.
The measure refers to a â€œfirst-time homebuyerâ€ as any person who, for the first time, purchases a house and lot or condominium unit or constructs a house on a land he/she owns and who intends to occupy the same as his/her principal place of residence.
The incentives may be availed of for the purchase of a housing package or the construction of a house falling under the category of low-cost housing and medium-cost housing as determined by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
The first-time homebuyer would be provided the schedule of payment of installments until full payment of the purchase price.
The bill provides a fine of P5,000 to P50,000 or imprisonment of six months, or both at the discretion of the court, for any person who makes a false claim regarding first-time homeownership and the tax credit arising from it.
DAVAO CITY — Tycoon and former Senator Manuel B. Villarâ€™s Vista Land and Lifescapes, Inc. will be ramping up its expansion in the Davao Region, with plans to launch 10 new projects next year.
A VIEW of Camella Northpoint in Davao City. — http://www.northpointdavao.com
In an interview, Maribeth C. Tolentino, president of Vista Land unit Vista Residences, Inc., said the company is planning to build a boutique hotel that will be part of the commercial component of its existing Camella Northpoint condominium project in Davao City.
Estimated to cost P500 million, she said the hotel will be among the 10 projects that are targeted to be launched in the Davao Region in 2016.
Ms. Tolentino said the first three projects lined up for 2016 are the 175-hectare township development in Toril, located in the southern part of the city, another project in central Davao City, and a horizontal project in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
â€œ(These) will be our opening salvo for next year,â€ she said, adding they will consider more projects if there are â€œopportunities and demand.â€
The Davao Region is expected to get a 15% share in Vista Landâ€™s total capital expenditure budget for 2016, similar to this year.
â€œDavao will get 15% of the budget next year… Capex this year is about P4 billion and 15% of that goes to Davao Region,â€ Ms. Tolentino said.
Among Vista Landâ€™s most recent projects in the region are horizontal developments in Panabo City and the municipality of Carmen, both in Davao del Norte province.
For Davao City, the company is currently working on two joint ventures (JV) for new vertical projects, including another medium-rise condominium and a high-rise building.
â€œWe already have identified the area, but (the JV) talk is still ongoing so we still canâ€™t discuss it,â€ she said.
Vista Landâ€™s strategy now is to penetrate all major cities where there are opportunities and maintain their number one spot in the affordable housing segment, Ms. Tolentino said.
â€œOur business (plan) is to keep on buying lots to supplement our existing projects,â€ she said.
posted October 31, 2015 at 11:50 pm byRoderick T. dela Cruz [ manilastandardtoday.com ]
Sales growth of mid-scale residential condominiums in the Philippines has begun to soften, with some buyers stopping their monthly installments, according to an expert in Asian real estate and hospitality industries.
â€œWe are concerned over the mid-scale real estate.We are seeing that growth has been getting softer in the past 12 to 18 months….Potential buyers are not completing sales on a broad basis,â€ says Bill Barnett, an American national who oversaw the development of several hotels and other properties in the Philippines in the past.
A view of high-end condominium buildings along Ayala Ave. in Makati City.Shown right is C9 Hotelworks Company Limited founder and managing director Bill Barnett.
â€œThere is a slowdown in the broad market, where it is [easy to become] speculative.People were buying second or third homes. That happened in China, where people were buying multiple units because of the availability of [cheap] credit.People buying second or third units and flipping them out could be gone,â€ Barnett says in an interview at Peninsula Hotel Manila in Makati City.
Barnett, the founder and managing director of Phuket-based asset management and hospitality consulting company C9 Hotelworks Company Limited, monitors the real estate and hospitality sectors across 12 Asian countries, including the Philippines.
He clarifies that while the mid-scale residential sector has been slowing down, the higher end of the industry and the hotel-branded residences remain in the upswing.â€œIn good locations, and in upper end of the market, that [softening] is not happening,â€ he says.
â€œOver the next five years, we see growth of 10 to 20 percent per annum, which is extremely high. We think that because there will be a lot more luxury properties coming to Metro Manila and resort areas, which are broadly untapped.We think we will see a lot of resort-grade projects,â€ Barnett says.
Most residential projects tap high-income Filipinos and expatriates, according to global property website Lamudi.Ordinary office workers, however, do not have the capability to buy homes in commercial business districts where they work, it says.
â€œA salaried Filipino with more than 20 years of work experience may need 128 yearsâ€™ worth of his salary in order to afford a house in Makati, the Philippinesâ€™ most expensive housing market,â€ Lamudi Philippines says.
Barnett, however, says the sustained growth of the Philippine economy will support continuous demand for branded condo projects. He says branded residences, or condominium projects under hotel brands such as Raffles Residences, Grand Hyatt Residences or Shangri-La Residences will do better than the rest of the real estate industry, as buyers want more premium in terms of branding.Other brands include CDC Millennium Ortigas, Hotel 101 and Lancaster the Atrium.
He says Century Properties, one of the most active developers in introducing branded projects, teamed up with hotel chain Accor for Novotel Suites affiliation.
â€œPeople feel there is a greater value to it. The reason why developers want hotel brand is there is a premium in pricing.In our research, there is a 26-percent premium for resort properties in terms of pricing per square meter and for urban locations, 14 percent,â€ he says.
â€œWhen we see the market in sales pace, there is faster absorption of hotel brands versus independent projects,â€ he says.
Barnett describes hotel residences as a marriage between real estate and hospitality. â€œWe call them hotel residences.People sometimes call them hotel branded residences.Sometimes, they call them condominium hotels. There is a hospitality element to it.It does not mean it operates necessarily as a hotel,â€ he says.
Barnett says name recognition is also the reason why property developers team up with celebrities such as Donal Trump, Paris Hilton, Philippe Starck and Giorgio Armani as well as established hotel chains for affiliations.
C9 Hotelworks advises developers on best use planning and provides market research on hotels and residential projects.â€œWe work across 12 markets,â€ says Barnett, who has been in Asia for 30 years, including a year in Manila in 1995 and two years in Cebu.He started Thailand-based C9 Hotelworks in 2004.
Barnett says more than 28,000 hotel branded units in 120 projects across seven Southeast Asian countries are currently for sale across the region.Thailand is the biggest market, followed by Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.
â€œWe looked at 28,000 units to evaluate.We work actively in these markets.We work with the hotel chains, so it is probably easy for us to triangulate information,â€ he says.
He estimates that the hotel residences market in Southeast Asia topped the P749-billion level this year.The market is worth P158 billion in the Philippines, which has over 11,000 residential units.
Metro Manila and Boracay are the top two locations of hotel or resort residences in the country, while other potential sites are Cebu, Davao and Palawan.
Barnett says the average price per square meter for urban properties in the Philippines is P196,547, while the price in resort destinations is about P189,276.
He says despite the price, the Philippine residential market remains relatively affordable and has room for more luxury projects.â€œWe donâ€™t see the urban properties pushing as high as they could.Grand Hyatt is a luxury, but it is not multi-million-dollar units.That is reflective of the tax regime on luxury properties here.Even though, you have Raffles and Fairmont, they have relatively smaller units.We donâ€™t see the ultra luxury properties. We think there is a market for that. There is a market for that in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.But we donâ€™t see that market here.There is room to grow,â€ he says.
â€œThe Philippines has a lot of blue skies in terms of real estate growth. It offers one of the biggest potential for upside, because you have a unique market.You have overseas buyers.You have areas like BGC [Bonifacio Global City] that are offering good opportunity.The biggest negative here is infrastructure,â€ says Barnett.
He says growth will come, along with the rise in international visitor arrivals.â€œThe DoT [Tourism Department] wants to double tourism.That seems impossible without addressing China.You can do that in five years, but not in one year [10 million arrivals].You have to stimulate demand.And the airport is a problem.And you have to be willing to address China,â€ he says.
Barnett says tourism in the Philippines can comfortably grow 8 to 10 percent a year.â€œPushing beyond that, you need some magic,â€ he says, adding that infrastructure such as airports should support the industry.
â€œWith 30 million people in Metro Manila, you cannot survive with a single airport,â€ he says.
posted October 24, 2015 at 11:40 pm byRoderick T. dela Cruz [ manilastandardtoday.com]
Architect Felino Palafox has broadened his field of interest, from urban planning to nation-building, in search of fresh insights into the situation of the Philippines, which will celebrate its 500th year as a country by 2021.
Today, he is now more interested in discussing corruption, criminality, climate change, poverty, pollution, traffic congestion and incompetence, instead of just designing buildings.
Palafox, one of the panelists during the recent launch of the fourth Philippine Trust Index by public relations firm EON The Stakeholders Relations Group at Makati Shangri La Hotel, expressed his frustration over governmentâ€™s inefficiency, such as the fact that the Philippines missed the boat in regional efforts to build a new economic bloc.
The Philippines, this yearâ€™s host of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings, was left out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, which recently signed an agreement to redefine global trade.
Palafox described this as an embarrassing situation for the country, a known ally of the United States which is leading the TPP, a new powerful group within Apec.
â€œThe government is suffering not just from corruption, but also from analysis paralysis. Like in the case of TPP or Trans-Pacific Partnership, how come Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore went into the 12 while the Philippines, which is an ally of the US, is still analyzing whether to join or not,â€ Palafox says.
The Philippines is still in talks to join TPP, according to the Trade Department. TPPâ€™s member countries cover about 40 percent of the world economy and include Australia, Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam in the Asia-Pacific region as well as the United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru and Chile.
The pact includes provisions to bring down barriers to trade in services and remove foreign investment restrictions, in addition to lowering tariffs on goods, according to Fitch Ratings.
Palafox says the Philippines missing the boat to TPP illustrates the lack of foresight among leaders, a reason why Filipinos have little trust in the government. He says nobody in the government thinks about traffic congestion, which translates into P2.2 billion worth of man-hour losses a day.
Palafox, who went to Harvard University for graduate courses, says a study done by the US Ivy League school as early as 2000, showed that Metro Manila was the fastest growing metropolis in the world.
â€œA projection showed there would be 54 million more Filipinos by 2050. Computing it at 250,000 per city, we need more than 200 new cities. Who among the government is thinking about that? Most of the government programs and policies are short-term and opportunistic,â€ he says.
Palafox, who dislikes walls separating homes and buildings in the Philippines and whose company designed the Rockwell Center in Makati City and Camp John Hay in Baguio City, says if the next leaders will only be able to address the issues of corruption, criminality and climate change, the Philippines is bound to join the top 20 economies in the world over the next decades.
Other panelists during the launch of the fourth Philippine Trust Index are Far Easter University president Michael Alba; former Interior secretary Rafael Alunan III; Rock Ed Philippines founder Therese Badoy Capati; Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research executive director Rommel Banlaoi, Philippine Council on Islam and Democracy lead convenor Amina Rasul-Bernardo; and Philippine Center for Civic Education and Democracy executive director Reynald Trillana.
The Philippine Trust Index is EONâ€™s proprietary research that was launched in 2011 to examine trust levels and drivers across the government, church, non-government organizations, business and media.
The nationwide survey shows that Filipinos prefer government leaders who are willing to listen to their constituents. Other important qualities of a government leader, according to the study, are being concerned for the people and having a strong political will.
Similar to government leaders, the most valued quality of a business leader is the willingness to listen to employeesâ€™ feedback. â€œOur findings on the most valued leadership qualities further underlines the importance of conversation and communication in building trust for public and private institutions,â€ says EON Group chairman and chief executive Junie del Mundo.
The 2015 PTI survey saw no movement in terms of the ranking of institutions based on trust rating. Church remains the most trusted institution in the country, with an overwhelming 73 percent of the general public and 68 percent of the informed public claiming to trust the church very much.
The academe garnered the second highest trust rating (51 percent), followed by media (32 percent). At the bottom are government (12 percent), business (9 percent) and NGOs (9 percent).
For government, the trust driver with the highest percentage has something to do with national peace and security, followed by housing food, and education; economy; going after corrupt politicians; preparation for calamities; and generating jobs.
For business, the top trust drivers are good salaries and benefits; fair labor; quality of products/service; right taxes; non-discrimination in the work place; treatment of customers; and environment-friendly policies and programs.
Within the business sector, health, telecommunication and water emerged as the most trusted. The least trusted industries are legal services, advertising and public relations, alcohol and tobacco and mining.
While television remains the most trusted source of information, this yearâ€™s survey shows that trust on online media improves.
â€œResults of the 2015 PTI Survey show how important it is now to utilize all channels â€“ from traditional media, to online news sites, and even social media,â€ says Malyn Molina, managing director of Engage, the newly launched public affairs and government relations business of EON Group.
â€œThe communication landscape today means that organizations and companies have to listen more to their stakeholders, even consider stakeholders beyond the usual groups it engages, and truly understand their position or concerns,â€ says Molina.
â€œIncreasing trust on digital platforms definitely makes the communication landscape more complicated. However, it also means that more Filipinos now can express their opinion in a bigger, more public space and participate in important national and regional discussions,â€ she says.,
The 4th Philippine Trust Index had 1,620 respondents nationwide.
By Othel V. Campos | Jul. 19, 2015 at 11:40pm [ manilastandardtoday.com ]
Property developers expressed concern over the lack of available land to address the massive housing requirement of a growing Philippine population.
The Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines Inc. said just about 2.52 percent of the total land in the country had been mapped out as suitable for housing development in 2012 from 1.27 percent in 2003.
â€œUnless a socially acceptable definition and policy is adopted, the proposed measure must be held in abeyance,â€ the group said in a position paper in response to the proposed National Land Use Act.
The total land area in the country, according to government data, is estimated at 30 million hectares, including 14.2 million hectares or 47.32 percent considered alienable and disposable area and 15.8 million hectares or 52.68 percent classified as forestland.
The total built-up area, considered to be part of forestland, is 2.52 percent or 755,009 hectares. Built-up areas are those with structures like roads and other infrastructures.
The group cited a need to revisit the proposed policy of protecting prime agricultural lands in the NLUA due to the growing housing needs and other competing interests.
It noted that despite increasing land allocation for agricultural use, the sectorâ€™s contribution to the gross domestic product was still smaller compared with Southeast Asian neighbors like Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Industry projections show Philippine housing needs up to 2016 would reach 5.53 million units and require about 43,726 to 73,043 hectares, depending on the use of land resources, whether vertical or horizontal. The estimate includes socialized housing.
Socialized housing covers residential subdivision and medium-rise condominium units below P1.2 million, while economic housing covers subdivisions and medium-rise buildings sold above P1.25 million but not more than P3.2 million.
The group is serious in resolving the 5.5 million housing backlog and build as much as 500,000 units each year for the next 20 years.
The property builders said the government should support the creation of as much as 10 million housing units by 2025 because the problem was taking its toll on the peopleâ€™s economic and social growth.
Philippine housing backlog stood at close to 4 million, with over 75 percent classified as informal settlers living in urban centers.