After a few bumps along the road, Philippine real estate has gained traction and is heating up once more, according to Ambassador Joey Antonio, chairman of Century Properties Group, one of the largest realty developers in the Philippines today.
Antonio was in New York to meet some of their business partners. On the side, he met up with some leaders of the community not only here in the United States but also in Canada.
In an interview with the Asian Journal in midtown Manhattan last week, Antonio expressed his optimism and said that the real estate industry is experiencing growth again.
The buyers here, some are affected but by and large, the Filipino community here in the US based on my experience, did not get affected, Antonio said, referring to the real estate crisis here in the United States.
Demand for new homes is strong, as remittances from the millions of overseas Filipinos are expected to increase 7% this year. In fact, according to Wall Street Journal, prices of luxury homes in prime locations are up a modest 3% this year, but the rents in those buildings are up more than 8%, citing data from real estate firm CBRE.
The Philippine real estate in general, the ambassador says, was not majorly affected by the global crisis.
We have grown because of the fact that we were focused on the community that were serving, the Filipinos, he said, adding Actually, America is not that affected, I talked to a lot of my friends here and they are all okay. There are some dynamics of the local community like some doctors earning a little less because HMO lowered their fees.
Antonios Century Properties boasts of 25 years of experience in real estate marketing, real estate development and property management, with more than 60 projects in its portfolio. Its major projects include the Essensa East Forbes in Fort Bonifacio, Global City in Manila. It has built up almost $1.45 billion of properties, mostly in the Philippines.
In New York, the group has The Centurion, the first ground up residential condominium in New York City to be designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei.
Amb. Antonio believes that the Philippine economy is booming, and as such, investments are beginning to pour in.
We are growing as a country. Our Filipino expats I dont call them OFWs, lets raise the consciousness are helping the country in big ways. They are 11 million strong, and that is whats creating the bigger middle class, alongside the growing BPO and call center industry back home, he explained.
The 11-million-strong overseas Filipinos remittances to the homeland have been fueling a lot of demand for real estate.
Amb. Antonio also looks at Filipino culture, one of the many things that binds Filipinos, wherever they may be.
There are certain advantages of Filipino culture. For one, home for seniors will never succeed in the Philippines. It is almost mandated for us or expected of us to take care of our elders. It is against our culture to let our elders not be taken cared of, he explained.
Their company recognizes this fact, that is why they are encouraging overseas Filipinos to invest in the Philippines through real estate.
Fil-Am seniors here look at the Philippines where they can spend a lot of time in their retirement years so they should invest now for that. They cannot go back there and stay in hotels, he added.
Antonio noted that real estate properties are very affordable in the Philippines, compared with its Asian neighbors.
We are 10% of the price of Singapore and Hong Kong that�s why a lot of investors are coming in. We are Asias best-kept secret,� he quipped.