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CLI’s H1 housing sales up 20% despite lockdown constraints

June 24, 2020

Despite constraints from coronavirus-triggered lockdown measures starting mid-March, property developer Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) saw a 20 percent year-on-year growth in first semester reservation sales, seen as an affirmation of resilient demand in its Visayas-Mindanao bailiwick.

CLI disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday that it had sold P3.4 billion worth of homes or over 1,500 housing units for economic and mid-market buyers from April to June despite a national lockdown. This brought first semester reservation sales to P6.2 billion compared to P5.2 billion in the same period last year.

“Our projects have maintained high sales velocity indicating strong demand for houses in Visayas and Mindanao particularly now that owning a home has become a priority,” said CLI chief executive officer Jose Soberano.

“The pandemic is making buyers realize the necessity to live in safe and secure communities. It serves as an added push for families to buy their much-needed home, and they see that CLI’s housing brands fulfill their requirements particularly our economic and mid-income communities,” he said.

By the middle of June, CLI reported that economic projects such as the 986-unit Casa Mira Towers CDO had been fully sold out. The newly-launched Casa Mira Towers Mandaue is now 81 percent sold out, while Casa Mira Iloilo is 50 percent taken up, CLI reported.

Casa Mira South also has a “long list of buyers waiting for the opening of its new phase,” CLI reported.

Mid-income project Velmiro Greens Bohol, with 204 units launched only in March, is now 80 percent taken up. All available units of the company’s 686-unit socialized housing in Cebu, Villa Casita North, are also fully sold out.

CLI now has only 10 percent of its residential units available in its inventory as of end May, prompting the company to launch more inventory.

About 50-60 percent of CLI’s residential portfolio was dedicated to the economic housing segment through its flagship brand Casa Mira.

CLI has also boosted its digital capabilities to sustain buyer interest. It has digitized end-to-end transactions and is setting up a website to showcase all available developments.

“Even prior to the lockdown, we had already foreseen the need to go digital. Early on, we took the necessary measures to make the buying transaction accessible and convenient to our sellers and buyers online – from the selection of properties up to the payment of reservation fees and down payments,” said CLI vice president for sales, Rose Yulo.

According to Yulo, CLI likewise stretched payment terms, making it easier for homebuyers during this challenging time. Monthly equity now ranges from P4,400 to P9,900 for economic housing, from P5,200 to P13,800 for mid-market, and from P7,200 to P14,700 for high-end. The stretched terms and affordable equity have supported the sales velocity despite the pandemic, CLI said.

CLI projects that remain under construction during the lockdown are sustained by third-party workers who follow strict health and sanitation protocols. The workers are likewise supported by CLI with weekly supplementary allowance.

“The continuous activity within a project site draws greater buyer interest in a development,” said Soberano. “We can see buyers now putting even higher priority in owning a home. Perhaps this is their way of securely dealing with the many uncertainties and investing in housing is as stable as it is necessary.” – Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Published in Philippine Daily Inquirer