No slowdown expected in demand for Philippine property.

By Romesh Navaratnarajah

For those who may have missed out on investing in Singapore property during the 1990s when it was considered more affordable, the Philippines offers a second chance to make a profit through real estate, according to Spencer Ngui, Executive Director for International Projects & Acquisition at MegaMax Global.
As one of Asia's fastest growing economies, Philippine property is an alternative investment opportunity for buyers and investors in Singapore, given the high housing prices in the city-state and the slew of cooling measures implemented by the government, he told The PropertyGuru.

Spencer Ngui looks after the international market at
MegaMax Global.

In fact, the Philippines made it to Morgan Stanley's list of Global Emerging Markets and was hailed by Deutsche Bank as the strongest performing economy in Asia after China.
The country is also projected to become one of the top 10 economies in the next 10 years, based on reports by HSBC and Goldman Sachs. A 2014 survey by the Urban Land Institute even ranked it fourth among Asia Pacific countries in terms of investment potential.
Specifically, property investment hotspots are mainly concentrated in five key locations: Makati, Quezon City, Bonifacio Global City, Ortigas Centre and the Entertainment City.
As the main financial centre, Makati has traditionally been a good place to invest, given that many multinational and local corporations have established their local headquarters here. As a result, take-up of residential and commercial properties in the area is currently at 90 percent and 96 percent respectively.

Another property goldmine is Quezon City, the most populous metropolis in the Philippines with around 2.4 million residents calling it home. The market also has good potential given its land area of more than 16,000ha, or five times the size of Makati. Moreover, there are nearly 60,000 business establishments in the city.

Aside from being a major urban centre, Quezon City is the number two producer of young professionals in the country. Ranked as ‘the most business-friendly city’ by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce, it is also rated as one of the “most liveable cities” in the country by the Metropolitan Bank Foundation. 

Property hunters will also find Bonifacio Global City (BGC) an ideal location. Affectionately called ‘The Fort’, this metropolis is touted as the ‘future premiere central business district’ of the Philippines due to a steady stream of high-value corporate headquarters moving into the vicinity.

It is also Manila’s gateway to the world as it has seven entry points from almost every direction. With its strategic location, prices in the city are expected to climb by eight percent in the next 12 months.

Next is Ortigas Centre, Metro Manila’s second most important business district after Makati City. “Home to numerous corporate headquarters including the headquarters of the Asian Development Bank, it also boasts excellent restaurants, nightclubs and shopping centres, one of which is Robinsons Galleria.”

Here you will find tranquil gated communities, low-rise projects and high-rise condos with accessibility to major roads, making it an ideal place to live, work and play. With rents on the rise, home prices here are also forecasted to see the same increase as in BGC.

Last but not least is the so-called Las Vegas Strip of the Philippines – Bagong Nayong Pilipino-Entertainment City. So far, four integrated resorts have been announced in this eight sq km area: Melco Crown’s City of Dreams Manila, Solaire Resort & Casino, Genting’s Resorts World Bayshore and Manila Bay Resorts by Universal Entertainment Corp.

Solaire opened its doors last March while Melco’s project is expected to be ready this year. When the other two are up and running by 2017, the area is expected to capture 10 percent of the global gaming market and generate about 400,000 new jobs.

More importantly, property prices are predicted to grow exponentially after the completion of these integrated resorts. As a matter of fact, demand for residential properties in the area has spiked after Solaire was completed.

“Having walked the ground for
five years in Manila as investors
ourselves, we are very familiar
with the real estate market and
the working culture of Filipinos.
This is our strategic advantage.”
Separately, when asked what sets the agency apart from the competition, Ngui said: “Having walked the ground for five years in Manila as investors ourselves, we are very familiar with the real estate market and the working culture of Filipinos. This is our strategic advantage.”

Speaking about his firm's long-term plans, he explained that MegaMax Global aims to become one of the leading wealth creation and investment management boutique agencies in Asia Pacific, particularly in Singapore.
"In the short-term, we intend to set up a world–class, one-stop shop property management company that will help our clients manage their property, lease out, maintain and exit their investments."
Ultimately, MegaMax Global aims to become one of the top five property agencies in the city-state, he added.


*This interview was originally published in Issue 54 of The PropertyGuru newspaper.

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