Firm sets aside P4B for projects
Monday, August 28, 2012
CEBU-BASED property developer Cebu Landmasters Inc. is setting aside P4 billion as capital expenditure budget to finance four new projects in 2013.
These four projects include a 10-hectare property in the south of Cebu and a five-hectare property in Consolacion.
The company will also build next year Park Central, a 20-storey office condominium in Cebu IT Park, and the second tower of Baseline Residences, which will have a commercial component, on Juana Osmeña St.
“The best time to make decisions for developers to build properties and for buyers to buy homes is now,” Cebu Landmasters Inc. president and chief executive officer Jose Soberano III said in an interview on Friday.
“Strike while the iron is hot,” he said.
Soberano said the low interest rate, strong domestic liquidity, huge housing backlog and strong inflows of remittances prompted them to be aggressive in building projects in Cebu, which he described as an ideal destination for employment and education.
He said at no point in the country’s history has there been credit as “readily available to the market at low interest rates” as now.
He said talks of a glut in the housing sector are just speculations triggered by fear, considering that the country still has “a huge backlog” in the economic and middle market segments or houses within the range of P150,000 to P3.5 million.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) earlier said there is no basis yet to concerns that a bubble is forming in the housing market. Last week, however, the BSP said it will impose additional controls on the exposure of banks to the real estate sector.
The maximum allowable “real estate exposure” of a bank under the BSP guidelines is set at 20 percent of its total loan portfolio.
Under the new rules, even investments by banks in securities issued by property firms, housing loans to individual borrowers, and loans to support development of socialized and low-cost houses are now included in the computation of “real estate exposure.”
Soberano believes the move of BSP in imposing stringent regulations for banks in granting real estate loans is a step in the “right direction.”
“A regular review is needed on the bank’s real estate account portfolio especially its
receivables mix. We are experiencing the best of times in the real estate industry and the banks have important roles in ensuring the continued success by policing their own ranks,” Soberano said in a text message yesterday.
According to Soberano, the country still has 3.5 million underserved households nationwide, of which five percent or 175,000 are in Cebu.
Unlike other buyers in the country who buy houses or condo units for investment or multiple ownership, Soberano said 70 percent of buyers in Cebu are new or first-time owners.
“The challenge for developers now is to make their product irresistible to the market,” he said.
He also urged developers to ensure the delivery of their project, otherwise failures will affect the reputation of other industry players.
Cebu Landmasters Inc. has been in the real estate industry for eight years. Since its incorporation in 2003, the company has ventured into developing residential homes in the countryside.
In 2010, the company launched Asia Premier Residences, a 17 high-rise condominium project at the Cebu IT Park. This was followed by the 18-storey residential condo development Baseline Residences on Juana Osmeña St. last year.
Soberano said he also plans to venture into leasing commercial properties in the future.