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Saturday to Monday, January 10-12, 2015
Stronger economic growth seen in next 2 yrs
Infra, election spending to provide big boost

Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
5:59 AM | Monday, January 12th, 2015
http://business.inquirer.net/184824/stronger-economic-growth-seen-in-next-2-yrs
 
MANILA, Philippines–For the Philippine trade chief, 2014 was “a good pause” for the expected “strong charge” in the last year and a half of the Aquino administration.

Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said that while 2014 was a good year, it was also beset by difficulties caused by the Manila port congestion, rising power rates, controversies involving the government and underspending, among others. These difficulties, he said, might have tempered the economy’s growth.

In the third quarter, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed to 5.3 percent, the lowest since 2011. This brought the average growth for the first three quarters of 2014 to 5.8 percent. For the full year 2014, the government was looking at a growth rate of at least 6.5 percent.

Read more: http://business.inquirer.net/184824/stronger-economic-growth-seen-in-next-2-yrs#ixzz3OYscBBwg
Metro Manila property sector still attractive to investors

Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
6:21 AM | Monday, January 12th, 2015
http://business.inquirer.net/184832/metro-manila-property-sector-still-attractive-to-investors
 
MANILA, Philippines–Metro Manila’s property market remains attractive to global institutional investors this 2015 even as overall interest in Asia-Pacific’s emerging markets has somewhat waned ahead of the expected rise in US interest rates.

This was based on Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ latest annual research “Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific 2015,” which ranked the Philippines’ capital regional eighth highest in terms of city investment prospects and likewise eighth in terms of development prospects for this year. There were 22 markets monitored in the ninth annual survey.

Metro Manila’s ranking in the latest survey slipped from fourth place last year in terms of investment prospects but still stood better than other major Southeast Asian cities such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh and Bangkok. In terms of development prospects, its ranking was unchanged from last year.

In particular, the Philippines was noted to be still among the “best bets” in the residential property segment alongside its Southeast Asian peers.

John Fitzgerald, chief executive of ULI Asia-Pacific, said in a forum last week that while foreign estate investors had been looking at emerging market opportunities for the last three years, in practice they found limited scope to buy.

The three main risks that stood out this 2015, Fitzgerald said, included an economic hard landing in China, which could have a “knock-on” impact across the region, uncertainties on “Abenomics” or Japan’s economic stimulus program and the looming interest rate increases by the US Federal Reserve.

“Fast-growing emerging markets like the Philippines and Indonesia remained on investors’ radar, but the attraction has dimmed somewhat this year as investors become cautious over the potential for capital outflows in the wake of upcoming US interest rate hikes,” the report said.

Read more: http://business.inquirer.net/184832/metro-manila-property-sector-still-attractive-to-investors
NGCP completes school bldg proj in Leyte

By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star)
January 10, 2015 - 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/business/2015/01/10/1411226/ngcp-completes-school-bldg-proj-leyte
 
PALO, Leyte, Philippines – The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has completed 21 school buildings it earlier committed to build in Leyte to help the province recover following the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.

In a ceremony here, NGCP formally turned over a new three-classroom school building to Palo 1 Central School. The other schools were turned over in November.

The 21 beneficiary schools are spread out in nine local government units (LGUs) of Leyte namely, Palo, Tolosa, Ormoc City, Tan-auan, Sta. Fe, Alang-alang, Barugo, Carigara and Capoocan.

Around 10,000 students are expected to benefit from the new school buildings.

Read more: http://www.philstar.com/business/2015/01/10/1411226/ngcp-completes-school-bldg-proj-leyte
MPIC allots P17B for 3rd Mactan bridge

By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star)
January 11, 2015 - 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/business/2015/01/11/1411560/mpic-allots-p17b-3rd-mactan-bridge
 
MANILA, Philippines - Infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) would spend as much as P17 billion to put up a third bridge connecting the city of Cebu and Mactan island.

Ramoncito Fernandez, president of MPIC’s Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), said the company is just waiting from the issuance of the Notice of Award from city government of Cebu.

“Our estimate of the start of construction of the project is anywhere between six and nine months from notice of award,” Fernandez said.

The original cost of the 7.9-kilometer bridge when it was first submitted to the government was P15 billion.

“Cost of the project is about P17 billion at today’s prices,” he added.

With the third bridge, it would be easier for motorists from Cebu City and the rest of southern Cebu to go to Cordova and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

There are about 82,000 vehicles per day using the two bridges that currently connect Cebu City and the island of Mactan.

Read more: http://www.philstar.com/business/2015/01/11/1411560/mpic-allots-p17b-3rd-mactan-bridge
Decision on SM Prime’s reclamation plan up to next gov’t

By Daphne J. Magturo, Reporter
Posted on January 11, 2015 10:53:00 PM
http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Corporate&title=Decision-on-SM-Prime%27s-reclamation-plan-up-to-next-gov%27t&id=100655
 
SM PRIME Holdings, Inc.’s plan to reclaim and develop a combined 600 hectares of land along Manila Bay into a central business district may have to wait until 2017 before the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) acts on it, as the regulator said it looks to commissioning a lengthy comprehensive study that will serve as a “benchmark” for all reclamation projects involving the country’s major hub.

“The study is intended to be a comprehensive study for the whole Manila Bay area from the northern most tip in Pampanga down to the Southern part in Ternate or Maragondon, Cavite,” PRA Assistant General Manager for Reclamation and Regulation Joselito D. Gonzales told BusinessWorld in a phone interview.

“It will serve as a benchmark study where we will countercheck proposed projects,” he said, noting that the study is already “long overdue.”

To identify who will conduct the study, the PRA will launch within the year a bidding among consultancy firms with experience in reclamation and environmental study.

After that, the winning consultancy firm is expected to finish the study within 14 months, according to Mr. Gonzales.

“It is logical that the study is finished first before we move ahead with the processing of the LGUs’ (local government units) recommendations,” he said.

Last year, the cities of Pasay and Parañaque both awarded to the SM Group separate contracts to reclaim and develop around 300 hectares each in Manila Bay under their jurisdictions for at least P54.5 billion and P50.19 billion, respectively, and also recommended the same to the PRA, which in turn will endorse it to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for final approval.

Read more: http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Corporate&title=Decision-on-SM-Prime%27s-reclamation-plan-up-to-next-gov%27t&id=100655
Township development seen as growth generator for property firms

By Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star)
January 12, 2015 - 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/business/2015/01/12/1411881/township-development-seen-growth-generator-property-firms
 
MANILA, Philippines - Township development has become the biggest generator of growth for the major private real estate developers in the country today.

This type of property development features not just office towers. It brings together in the location residential condominiums,  lifestyle malls, retail and commercial strips, open parks and even a transport hub.

Most of the big players have outgrown their original shells  –  stand-alone towers, one-off projects – and explored various sectors, creating new communities, Pinnacle Real Estate Consulting Services Inc. said in a report.

The report cited Megaworld  which is developing Bayshore City in Pasay City, Uptown Bonifacio and McKinley West in the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) area, Woodsite City in Pasig City; Alabang West in Muntinlupa City, Mactan Newtown in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu; Iloilo Business Park in Iloilo City; and Davao Park District in Davao City.

Under the banner of Suntrust Ecotown, the group is also developing Southwoods City in the boundaries of Cavite and Laguna; Boracay Newcoast in Boracay Island; and Twin Lakes in Tagaytay City.

Megaworld envisions Woodside City as an “environment-friendly” mixed-use development. A main “green” feature of the township is the approximately 1,000 trees that will be planted around the development. This greening feature will help provide an outdoor thermal comfort for the future residents, workers, tenants and visitors of the township.

Read more: http://www.philstar.com/business/2015/01/12/1411881/township-development-seen-growth-generator-property-firms
Property firm speeds up dev’t in south

Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:15 AM
Monday, January 12th, 2015
http://business.inquirer.net/184892/property-firm-speeds-up-devt-in-south
 
MANILA, Philippines–The leisure estate arm of property tycoon Andrew Tan-led Megaworld Corp. has rolled out the third phase of its upscale village, Alabang West, after the first two phases generated P5 billion in sales less than three months after its launch.

In a statement, Megaworld unit Global-Estate Resorts Inc. said it remained bullish on its residential projects at Alabang West, citing brisk sales and strong demand for the high-end horizontal residential development.

From an initial price of P47,000 per square meter in October, the price rose to P48,500 in December.

Rachelle Peñaflorida, vice president for sales and marketing of Megaworld Global-Estate Inc., said the group had started selling lots under the third phase in view of the fast take-up of the initial two phases.

Read more: http://business.inquirer.net/184892/property-firm-speeds-up-devt-in-south
SMDC eyes horizontal development in P18-B expansion this year

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star)
January 12, 2015 - 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/business/2015/01/12/1411883/smdc-eyes-horizontal-development-p18-b-expansion-year
 
MANILA, Philippines -  The residential development arm of the Sy family’s property conglomerate SM Prime Holdings Inc. will undertake a more aggressive growth path this year, allotting as much as P18 billion to double the company’s new project launches and potentially make its foray into horizontal housing development.

SM Prime chief finance officer Jeffrey Lim said SM Development Corp. (SMDC) is earmarking a capital ex-penditure budget of P15 billion to P18 billion this year to fund new projects as well as expand existing developments.

For this year, Lim said SMDC would hike its new project launches to about four or five from only two last year.

The new projects would add 12,000 to 14,000 units to SMDC’s portfolio and would generate sales of as much as P14 billion, Lim said.

In addition, he said two more existing projects would be expanded this year through the addition of new towers.

“We see a lot of demand continuing and there’s a lot of demand in terms of afford- able residential condos,” Lim said, when asked regarding the firm’s more bullish plans for the year.

SMDC also intends to push through with its planned maiden venture into low- cost horizontal development.

“We’re working on horizontal development, but that is still in the planning stages. Hopefully we can launch one project within the year to serve as our pilot,” Lim said.

Lim said SMDC is still finalizing the location for the horizontal project, but it would likely be in the province, either north or south of Metro Manila.

He said the move to venture into hori- zontal development arose from demand coming from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) looking for units at the P800,000 to P1.2 million range.

Read more: http://www.philstar.com/business/2015/01/12/1411883/smdc-eyes-horizontal-development-p18-b-expansion-year
FBDC to build performing arts center in BGC

By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star)
January 12, 2015 - 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/business/2015/01/12/1411884/fbdc-build-performing-arts-center-bgc
 
MANILA, Philippines -  Fort Bonifacio Development Corp. (FBDC), the main private developer of Bonifacio Global City, is embarking on a P450-million performing arts center project in Taguig following the success of the country’s first world-class science museum.

The performing arts center, which would cement the city’s stature as a premier science and arts hub, will be undertaken by the Bonifacio Art Foun- dation Inc. (BAFI), a corporate founda- tion of FBDC.

In an interview, BAFI managing direc- tor Manny Blas II told The STAR that construction of the 500-seater performing arts theater will commence by the end of the month and would be operational by the middle of next year.

“The next project of the foundation is to build a performing arts center in BGC so we will have both arts and science facilities. So the Mind Museum would be for the sciences and now there will also be one for the arts in BGC,” Blas said.

Read more: http://www.philstar.com/business/2015/01/12/1411884/fbdc-build-performing-arts-center-bgc
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Saturday to Tuesday, January 13, 2015
MPIC’s proposed Cebu bridge proj subject to Swiss Challenge

By LAWRENCE AGCAOILI
(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 13, 2015 - 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/business/2015/01/13/1412221/mpics-proposed-cebu-bridge-proj-subject-swiss-challenge-lawrence
 
MANILA, Philippines - The proposed of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. to build a P17-billion bridge connecting Cebu City and the municipality of Cordova will be subjected to a “Swiss Challenge.”

MPIC said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) that the proposed Cebu-Cordova bridge project of Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. will have to go through a “Swiss Challenge.”

 “MPTDC can now start negotiations with both Cebu City and the Municipality of Cordova. Once done, a Swiss Challenge will have to be conducted before award,” the company stated in the disclosure.

Under the “Swiss Challenge” approach, the government would give other private sector participants a chance to submit competitive counter proposals. If the counter proposals are more attractive than the unsolicited or original proposal, the government would give the original project proponent the opportunity to match the competing counter proposal and win the project.

The unit of MPIC’s Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) is looking at forming a joint venture with the city of Cebu and the municipality of Cordova for the design, construction, implementation, operation, and maintenance of the toll bridge for a period of 35 years including preparatory work, design, and construction.

The project includes the construction of the main bridge structure, viaduct, causeway, and roadway.
 
In an earlier interview, MPTC president Ramoncito Fernandez said the construction cost of the toll bridge is estimated at P17 billion.

About 70 percent of this will be sourced from debt while 30 percent will come from equity contributions.

Assuming that all awards and approvals are secured by the first half of 2015, the MPIC unit intends to complete the project by 2020.

The proposed toll bridge spanning 8.3 kilometers linking the island of Mactan to mainland Cebu through the town of Cordova would decongest the traffic in two existing bridges and provide seamless access between the two islands.
BCDA bidding out small lots

Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:38 AM | Tuesday, January 13th, 2015
http://business.inquirer.net/184975/bcda-bidding-out-small-lots
 
State-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is bidding out seven so-called “small value properties” along C-5 Road and in the Fort Bonifacio area in line with the agency’s asset privatization program.

In a notice, the BCDA said it was bidding out two lots in Fort Bonifacio—the 165-sqm Kalayaan Villa which is being offered for a minimum bid price of P4.95 million and the 225-sqm Summit Housing, which is expected to fetch bids of at least P5.062 million.

Also up for sale are lots located at the East of C-5 Road in Taguig City: the 96-sqm Lot 12515-E, which has a price tag of P1.78 million; 262-sqm Lot 3 (P4.85 million); 438-sqm Lots 2A and 2B (P8.103 million); 976-sqm Lot 1250-B (P18.056 million), and 4,040-sqm Lots 2 and 25-E-3 (for P72.6 million).

According to the BCDA, these lots are being offered on an “as-is, where-is” basis. The properties listed are being sold separately, which means interested parties may opt to bid for any or all of the lots being offered.

Interested bidders have until Feb. 11 to purchase the bidding terms of reference for a nonrefundable fee of P10,000.

A pre-bid conference will be held on Jan. 23 to allow interested parties to thresh out any concerns or issues regarding the bidding.

For this year, the BCDA is expected to also bid out for long term lease and development portions of the 9,450-hectare Clark Green City in Pampanga, which is envisioned to become the “international business hub of the Southeast Asian Region.” The first phase will see the development of 1,300 hectares.
First LGU PPP project gets go signal

ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 01/12/2015 4:47 PM | Updated as of 01/12/2015 4:50 PM
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/01/12/15/first-lgu-ppp-project-gets-go-signal
 
MANILA – The first Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project of a local government unit has been approved by the Investment Coordination Committee–Cabinet Committee (ICC-CC).

The ICC approved the P400 million Tanauan City Public Market Redevelopment Project, which involves the construction of a commercial mall building and separate wet and dry public market facilities.

The project will be a 25-year concession including one-year construction period.

The redeveloped public market aims to create jobs for the local communities in the city and nearby municipalities as well as improve storage and market facilities for local business.

It is also expected to reduce traffic in the area by significantly improving the turnaround time for transporting goods and wares to and from the public market.

“This is the first LGU-PPP project approved by the ICC and we look forward to more local PPP initiatives facilitated by the Center’s PPP capacity building strategy for local governments,” said PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao.

The Tanauan City government plans to start the bidding process within January and expects to award the contract to a private partner by March this year.
CREBA proposes package to address 5.5-M housing backlog

By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star)
Updated January 13, 2015 - 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/business/2015/01/13/1412218/creba-proposes-package-address-5.5-m-housing-backlog
 
MANILA, Philippines - The Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc. (CREBA) is proposing a package of reforms to allow the country to address the 5.5 million housing backlog in the next 20 years.

 “With the backlog estimated at 5.5 million, we have set our target production of 500,000 (housing units) per year for the next 20 years,” CREBA national chairman Charlie Gorayeb said during the group’s Developer’s Forum yesterday.

To achieve the annual housing production target of 500,000 units, Gorayeb said the group has identified a five-point agenda or package of reforms aimed at providing benefits to the government, homebuyers and the private sector.

Among the reforms pushed is the availability of long-term and affordable funds for socialized and economic housing.

The group is proposing a Centralized Homebuyer Financing Program (CHFP) which would involve initial contributions from the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, Pag-IBIG and unused agri-agra funds of banks invested in housing bonds pursuant to different laws, to be made available as home financing assistance to individual home loan borrowers with no component for development financing.

In addition to the CHFP, the group is proposing the operation of a long-term mortgage-backed securitisation program which would involve securitisation, capital and secondary market operations for home mortgages and other housing-related receivables, conveyances and financial instruments to be managed by a secondary mortgage institution organized by the government, to increase funds available for housing and home development.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Ayala Land to open 8 new malls until 2016

ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 01/19/2015 7:08 PM | Updated as of 01/20/2015 3:21 PM
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/01/19/15/ayala-land-open-8-new-malls-until-2016

MANILA – Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) is expanding its mall network with 8 new malls that the firm is planning to open until 2016.

“On projected malls, ALI aims to open a total of 8 malls within 2015 to 2016. On total malls so far, we have 16,” Suzette Naval, Ayala Land’s corporation communications manager, said on Monday.

One of these malls will be located in Legazpi, Albay through a partnership with Bicol-based LCC group. The mall is expected to open within the year.

"Bernard Vincent Dy, ALI president and CEO confirms the Legazpi Mall project which was reported in Philippine Daily Inquirer," Naval said.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange, ALI also said it is looking to spend P100 billion in capital expenditures this year to support the firm’s “aggressive growth trajectory” as part of its 2020 Vision program, which aims to achieve a 20 percent annual growth in the next six years.

“This will be supported by our recent P16 billion equity placement and a combination of cash, cash flow generated from our operations, dividends from our subsidiaries and an estimated P10-P15 billion in borrowings. The plans on the borrowings are still being evaluated based on market conditions to ensure that we maintain a healthy balance sheet position,” the firm said.

ALI is the firm behind the Glorietta and Greenbelt malls in Makati, and the Trinoma mall in Quezon City. The firm also has malls in Alabang, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Subic, Bacolod and Pampanga.
Sta Lucia to expand mall presence outside Metro

By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 21, 2015 - 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/business/2015/01/21/1415009/sta-lucia-expand-mall-presence-outside-metro
 
MANILA, Philippines - Property developer Sta. Lucia Land Inc. (SLI) is eyeing to expand its mall presence outside its domain in Rizal, citing the country’s consumption boom as its growth driver.

“The company plans to replicate its success and expertise in its current 120,000-square meter mall in Rizal by building    new malls in commercial areas it already owns,” SLI said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday.

SLI said the size of its commercial areas across the country currently stands at  around 33.93 hectares and are located in over 20 cities and provinces.

SLI president and chief executive officer Exequiel D. Robles earlier told The STAR in an interview that the company is eyeing Iloilo or Davao as possible locations for its new mall developments.

To date, SLI’s only mall under its portfolio is the Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall in Cainta, Rizal. 

Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall was the first shopping complex which catered to the communities of Pasig, Cainta, Marikina and Antipolo in 1991

In September last year, the listed property firm completed IL Centro, a two-level expansion mall of its East Grand Mall.

As one of the country’s largest subdivision developers with presence in 10 regions, SLI said it is poised to capture the country’s remarkable economic performance in the coming years as growth continues to accelerate in areas outside Metro Manila

“With multiple projects already present in the key cities and provinces, the company will be the beneficiary of increased purchasing power and the renewed influx of commerce as businesses starts to flourish in emerging cities and provinces,” the listed property firm said.

David dela Cruz, SLI executive vice president and chief finance officer, said market value of the company’s properties in Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, Pampanga and Bulacan has appreciated in recent years is expected to do so in the coming years.

“Even during the property crisis that happened in the past decades, property prices in these areas did not have violent swings, but instead have had a steady trajectory of increases in values over the past years,” he said.

The company has launched a total of 38 projects in the past three years in areas such as Rizal, Cebu, Iloilo and Davao.

SLI was able to more than double its earnings in the third quarter of last year behind soaring real estate sales.

The company’s net income climbed 112 percent in July to September 2014 to P426 million from P201 million the previous year.
 
8990 Holdings launches P1.1-B Gen. Santos project

Doris C. Dumlao
1:00 AM | Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
http://business.inquirer.net/185336/8990-holdings-launches-p1-1-b-gen-santos-project

MASS housing developer 8990 Holdings is breaking into the residential property market of General Santos with the launch of a P1.1-billion housing project, thus expanding its footprint in Mindanao.

The launch also marks the establishment of 8990’s seventh hub.

In a briefing on Tuesday, 8990 Holdings president and chief executive officer Januario Jesus Atencio said the company still had a lot of room to grow, noting it was in only seven of the country’s 14 regional growth centers.

Upbeat on prospects for the housing market, he said 8990 expected to sustain a growth of 20 percent each year.

In 2014, he said 8990 was on track with its guidance of generating around P8 billion in revenues, out of which 40 percent in margins would likely be unlocked.
About 8,000 residential units were completed last year by the listed company.

This year, 8990 is setting aside P3 billion for capital spending, mostly for land acquisition.

Meanwhile, the new project in General Santos came about following an opportunity to acquire an existing project started by a local businessman, whose core expertise is in tuna fishing and thus decided to divest from mass housing.

8990 acquired the project called “Rosalio Bayview” from Safi Land-GSC Development Corp.

8990 will initially build on the 18.82-hectare portion of SAFI’s 67.53-ha landbank, but it has the exclusive rights to acquire additional land in case of strong market demand.

The project will be renamed Deca Homes GenSan Bayview, which will start offering within this quarter 1,271 house and lots ranging from 80 sqm to 150 sqm as well as parks, playgrounds and other community facilities.

8990 plans to set aside about 20 percent of the development project for socialized housing units at 40 sqm each.

The price of each housing unit will likely range from P450,000 for the socialized segment to as high as P750,000.

The P1.1-billion project estimate refers to the sales value of new units to be brought to the market.

“GenSan is a progressive city with a big housing demand,” Atencio said.

“We are happy about opening our new branch in General Santos City because it allows us to expand our reach to new areas and extend our housing products and services to more working-class Filipinos,” he added.

The company has vowed to step up efforts to provide affordable houses to help the government address the massive backlog in housing units.
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Thursday, January 22, 2015
Green architecture helps mitigate effects of climate change

January 21, 2015
http://www.mb.com.ph/green-architecture-helps-mitigate-effects-of-climate-change/
 
Climate change is taking its toll in our country. Rainy seasons have become unpredictable, bringing severe flooding and other dire conditions that scientists predict will become more frequent as the planet continues to become warmer.

In response to environmental threats, Filipino architect and green architecture advocate Albert Zambrano encourages architects to do their roles in limiting the effects of climate change in the communities. He said that architects are in a position to take a lead role in climate action by promoting green designs.
Green building designs can help ease negative effects of climate change.

Green building designs can help ease negative effects of climate change.

“It has been estimated that 40 percent of all fossil fuels consumed are attributed to the construction and operation of buildings. If architects design buildings that are energy efficient, then the carbon dioxide emission, which is one of the leading causes of climate change, can be significantly reduced,” he said.

To help mitigate the effects of climate change, according to Zambrano, architects can do three things: employ green building principles and processes to their projects; educate and convince clients, building users, other building professionals, and stakeholders to go green; and create examples or templates for easy replication on a mass scale for higher impact.

Locally, architects and their respective organizations are quite active in addressing the issue of climate change by pushing for green building designs. The United Architects of the Philippines, for instance, encourages its members to design green.

A number of academic institutions have also expressed commitment to promoting green architecture so future architects will be equipped with the knowledge and skill set to deal with climate change.

Zambrano, who is teaching Urban and Regional Planning and Building Information Modeling courses at Mapúa Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture, Industrial Design, and the Built Environment, involves his students in social housing projects he spearheads to expose them to real-life situations.

One of his recent projects is the vertical sidewalk-medium rise building, a multi-story structure designed to mitigate floods, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and create livelihood opportunities for the urban poor. Together with renowned architect Felino Palafox, Jr., he also spearheaded the Estero de San Miguel Project, which was unveiled recently.

The buildings use natural light and ventilation, have green walls made from steel matting suitable for growing pechay or spinach, and have rainwater and grey-water catching system useful for collecting water during the rainy season and recycling of household water. Both were also designed to be conducive to the development of micro, small, medium, and home-based enterprises.

While it can be said that architects can take the lead role in mitigating the effects of climate change, environment-friendly practices can start at homes and in schools.

“The government has enacted laws addressing climate change. What needs to be done now is instill green living in the future generations. Simple things like practicing the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle) at home and work in every opportunity can have an impact,” he concluded.
Delay of the land

Conrad Banal
Philippine Daily Inquirer
10:29 PM | Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
http://business.inquirer.net/185379/delay-of-the-land-2
 
SM Prime Holdings, owner of the 50 or so SM malls all over the country, issued a statement saying it was resuming an expansion project in its property in Baguio City, which was derailed by court cases for more than two years now.

Thus, the SM group last Saturday started groundwork at its eight-hectare property in one of the busiest areas of the city.

It seems the construction workers uprooted pine trees in the private property, some 60 of them, according to unconfirmed accounts on the Internet.

Uh-oh, the guys down here in my barangay could almost hear all the noise from the self-proclaimed “environmentalists” against the resumption of the SM land project.

Actually, at the onset, the SM group called the Baguio mall expansion a “green” project, owing perhaps to its LEED certification. LEED was nothing but the “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,” recognized all over the world for standards on “green” construction.

Let us put things in perspective here: Those environment friendly construction standards did not just come from out of nowhere, because the US Green Building Council developed them. Meaning, there was “science” in them.

Really now, the signal for the SM group to resume its much delayed “green” project came from the Court of Appeals a couple of weeks ago. The CA affirmed an earlier decision made by the Baguio City Regional Trial Court.

(A long time ago, the regional court already lifted a “temporary environmental protection order” issued against the project, obviously upon the insistence of so-called environmental groups, which then went to the CA to appeal the lifting order.)

And so for more than two years, nothing happened in the P1.2-billion expansion project of the existing mall in the SM property that the Baguio City government hailed as a big help in solving some big problems in the ever-growing urban Baguio.

You see, the SM group even aimed to provide green facilities in the eight-hectare mall property, such as walls and rooftop filled with live, breathing plants, which genuine environmentalists would only love to have in all construction projects anytime.

Ornamentation and aesthetics aside, however, and this may be unknown to many, the expansion project had—from the beginning—other environmental features invisible to the public eye. Among them was the sewerage treatment facility that the entire Baguio City, not just the SM mall, direly needed.

To think, if you would ask genuine environmentalists, sewerage treatment was always a “must have” in urban projects, precisely to avert the total destruction of natural waterways from human water wastes.

Also included in the SM construction blueprint was the provision for impounding and storing some 6 million liters of rainwater, which a water-deprived city like Baguio could definitely use to water the plants—and the pine trees—in its various parks.

That—or for cleaning the streets of mud created by soil erosion in most parts of the city.

Above all, the SM expansion project, from the very start, boasted of allotting space for parking that can accommodate—at any one time—more than 1,200 vehicles and more than 250 for motorcycles or… well, bicycles.

As I said in the past, biking and hiking in Baguio were always refreshing back in our younger days when we used to go there for short summer trips.

Nowadays, nobody would want to bike and suffer the thick smog in the city, exacerbated surely by the worsening traffic condition all over the city, mainly due to the critical lack of parking space.

Question: How could the Baguio City government solve the smog problem without solving the traffic congestion by providing parking spaces for thousands of vehicles?
For so many years, in large parts of Baguio City, the streets were converted into parking lots by all sorts of commercial establishments.

For example, one of my favorite restaurants in Baguio has always been “Cafe By The Ruins.” I heard that it opened a branch recently by the sidewalk beside another favorite place called “Mario’s.”

Guess what—their customers would double-park on both sides of the road. You can just imagine the result.

As I said, the CA just affirmed the decision of the regional trial court, dated April 2012, to dismiss the case against the SM project that was filed by three groups claiming to represent the thousands of residents of Baguio City.

The RTC ruled back then that the mall project within the vicinity of the Luneta Hill “will not cause irreparable injury to the environment or the constituents of the City of Baguio.”

From what I heard, the same groups were still planning to file a motion for reconsideration before the CA.

Still, the SM group announced that, with the CA decision issued last month, it could finally proceed with the “Sky Park,” which was the mall expansion project, featuring green walls and roof deck, sewerage treatment and water impounding systems, and parking facility with floor area bigger than the Araneta Coliseum.

After all, the group claimed it had already secured the final approval and necessary permits for the project, even holding dialogues with various community groups.

But aside from legal voodoo and all that mambo-jumbo, it would be hard to see the project as anything but beneficial to Baguio City. Let us not even talk about the economic impact of the project, considering the taxes it would bring into the city coffers.

For instance, in 2012 or two years ago, even the notorious DENR, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, ordered the SM group to plant 6,000 trees in and around Baguio City.

But the SM group went against the DENR order, because instead of planting 6,000 trees, the group actually planted 60,000 trees, or 10 times the number ordered by the DENR.

Here is more, in its representations with LGUs in the Baguio metropolitan area, the SM group had committed to plant 500,000 trees in the next five years.

No other group—whether genuine or pseudo environmental group—could claim to have committed such a grand tree planting scheme in Baguio and surroundings.

Well, in its own eight-hectare property, SM already cared for about 1,200 pine and alnus trees, with 41 of them replanted (i.e. relocated) in the same site, under supervision of the DENR and the LGUs.

Besides, other establishments cut trees in the city, such as the Toyota dealer expansion for its show room, or those 700 or so trees that the developers of condos in the city also cut down.

Like it or not, Baguio City for a long time now suffered from various problems such as mass squatting—nicely known as illegal settlement —such as in the Busol area. And so what used to be mountainsides full of trees were converted into squatter colonies full of garbage.
Why BSP is tightening rules on real estate investments

ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 01/19/2015 10:12 AM
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/01/19/15/why-bsp-tightening-rules-real-estate-investments
 
MANILA – More developers have been enticing buyers to purchase properties by no longer requiring them to pay the 20 percent downpayment.

However, financial adviser Salve Duplito said that what most people don’t realize is that the 20 percent downpayment rule is their protection from foreclosure, lightens mortgage, and reduces pressure on cash flow.

The downpayment requirement is also a litmus test of whether you’re financially ready to buy a house.

“Without a 20 percent downpayment, buying a house seems more achievable. But there’s a high likelihood that’s an illusion buyers will discover as the years go by. And the result of that illusion—foreclosure—can be very painful,” she said on ANC’s “On The Money.”

The aggressive selling strategy of waiving the 20 percent downpayment requirement is one of the factors in the US financial crisis in 2008.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is tightening its regulations regarding this strategy as well as other aspects of real estate lending in efforts to keep the country’s financial sector healthy.

“That is part of the regulatory review we are doing because we want to be sure that credit underwriting standards are being maintained,” said Dr. Johnny Ravalo, BSP assistant governor.

The BSP is also reviewing contract-to-sell financing deals of real estate developers.

Contract-to-sell financing is a scheme that involves removing downpayment, and allowing buyers to pay in installment but with a balloon payment within a couple of years.

The developer then sells the receivables to the bank.

Ravalo said the BSP has set a minimum standard of 1 year before a developer can sell the receivable to a financial institution.

“We are undertaking a new review whether it needs to be tightened a little bit more, given what we are seeing as the supply side of the market. An individual cannot simply go to the developer, get a unit, and then the developer next day turns around and sells it to the bank. It has to go to an aging process so there is track record that the individual has a capacity to pay. Only then, there’s a minimum period for that, can the developer go to a bank and try to sell,” he said.

The BSP is also tightening regulations in terms of prioritizing cash flow and capacity to pay rather than collateral in credit evaluation.

Ravalo also said that the regulator is tightening disclosure rules as well as monitoring data and compliance.

He added that demand for real estate seems to be less an issue now than before due to the country’s demographic.

The important signs that the BSP is looking at in real estate is the capacity of individuals to pay their loans; how well banks can find good borrowers; and what recourse a person has when he falls into financial distress.

“If you want to keep the economy healthy, stay away from those no downpayment deals, which make it harder overtime for you to pay off your property,” Duplito said.
 
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BSP to release new resd’l real estate price index by Q3

By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 19, 2015 - 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/business/2015/01/19/1414294/bsp-release-new-resdl-real-estate-price-index-q3
 
MANILA, Philippines - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas may release the new residential real estate price index by the second quarter of this year, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said last week.

Guinigundo told reporters the central bank is currently collecting first quarter data for the property index, which will serve as an indicator of house prices in the country.

“We’re collating data… first quarter data so maybe it will come in in the second quarter,” Guinigundo said, adding construction materials and building permits will be the main components of the index.

The BSP executive last year said the index will initially cover Metro Manila and nearby provinces but there are plans to expand this to other key cities in the country.

The central bank aims to build at least 20 years of data for the new property index aimed at also helping regulators spot any potential asset bubbles in the sector, Guinigundo said.

The BSP has been continuously monitoring banks’ exposure to the housing sector given the sustained robust growth of the sector and rising prices of houses, offices, and lots.

Latest central bank data showed banks’ real estate exposure jumped 23 percent to P1.159 trillion as of end-September last year.

The bulk of these were real estate loans, which grew 24 percent to P977.05 billion, while the rest were investments in the property sector which also increased 25 percent to P384.119 billion.

The central bank has deployed policy actions to better guard banks’ exposure to the sector and ensure there are no inflated prices in the property sector, in line with its financial stability mandate.

Last year, the BSP has required banks to undergo a separate stress test to assess the impact of their exposure to the real estate sector in case borrowers fail to pay their loans.

Banks need to maintain a common equity tier 1 capital ratio of at least six percent and a minimum risk-based capital adequacy ratio of 10 percent even if 25 percent of their exposure to the sector has been written off.

Back in 2012, the BSP also enforced stricter rules for banks’ reporting of their exposure to the real estate sector.

The system was amended so banks would also report loans to developers of socialized and low-cost housing, and to individuals, and credit supported by non-risk collaterals or Home Guarantee Corp. guarantee.

Banks were also required to report their investments in debt and equity securities that finance real estate activities.
BCDA seeks bids for 9 prime lots in Bonifacio Global City, C-5

By Chrisee J. V. Dela Paz, Reporter
Posted on January 19, 2015 10:02:00 PM
http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Corporate&title=BCDA-seeks-bids-for-9-prime-lots-in-Bonifacio-Global-City,-C-5&id=101137
 
STATE-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is selling P115-million worth of prime lots along C-5 Road and Bonifacio Global City and yesterday published a bid bulletin seeking offers from investors.

The properties would be sold on an “as is, where is” basis, which means that the winning bidder for each lot will get everything that comes with the property, at its present condition.

Through the bid notice, BCDA has opened the floor for prospective bidders to participate in the auction of nine prime lots: a 165-square-meter (sq.m.) lot in Kalayaan Villa, Bonifacio Global City; a 225-sq.m.

lot in Summit Housing also within the upscale center; and seven prime lots along east of C-5 road with lot sizes of 96 sq.m. to 4,040 sq.m.

The properties will not be bid out as one bundle so “an interested bidder may opt to bid for any or all of the properties,” the BCDA said.

Interested groups may buy the terms of reference for each lot at the BCDA headquarters in Bonifacio Global City until Feb. 11 for a non-refundable fee of P10,000 each.

The BCDA has set a pre-bid conference for Jan. 23 at its headquarters in Bonifacio Global City.

The BCDA was created by Republic Act 7227 to convert former US military bases.

The state-run agency also engages in public-private partnership infrastructure deals such as tollways, airports, seaports, as well as major real estate developments.

Since it was established in 1992, the BCDA has earned P62.78 billion from the disposition of former Metro Manila camps, its Web site showed.
Why BSP is tightening rules on real estate investments

ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 01/19/2015 10:12 AM
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/01/19/15/why-bsp-tightening-rules-real-estate-investments
 
MANILA – More developers have been enticing buyers to purchase properties by no longer requiring them to pay the 20 percent downpayment.

However, financial adviser Salve Duplito said that what most people don’t realize is that the 20 percent downpayment rule is their protection from foreclosure, lightens mortgage, and reduces pressure on cash flow.

The downpayment requirement is also a litmus test of whether you’re financially ready to buy a house.

“Without a 20 percent downpayment, buying a house seems more achievable. But there’s a high likelihood that’s an illusion buyers will discover as the years go by. And the result of that illusion—foreclosure—can be very painful,” she said on ANC’s “On The Money.”

The aggressive selling strategy of waiving the 20 percent downpayment requirement is one of the factors in the US financial crisis in 2008.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is tightening its regulations regarding this strategy as well as other aspects of real estate lending in efforts to keep the country’s financial sector healthy.

“That is part of the regulatory review we are doing because we want to be sure that credit underwriting standards are being maintained,” said Dr. Johnny Ravalo, BSP assistant governor.

The BSP is also reviewing contract-to-sell financing deals of real estate developers.

Contract-to-sell financing is a scheme that involves removing downpayment, and allowing buyers to pay in installment but with a balloon payment within a couple of years.

The developer then sells the receivables to the bank.

Ravalo said the BSP has set a minimum standard of 1 year before a developer can sell the receivable to a financial institution.

“We are undertaking a new review whether it needs to be tightened a little bit more, given what we are seeing as the supply side of the market. An individual cannot simply go to the developer, get a unit, and then the developer next day turns around and sells it to the bank. It has to go to an aging process so there is track record that the individual has a capacity to pay. Only then, there’s a minimum period for that, can the developer go to a bank and try to sell,” he said.

The BSP is also tightening regulations in terms of prioritizing cash flow and capacity to pay rather than collateral in credit evaluation.

Ravalo also said that the regulator is tightening disclosure rules as well as monitoring data and compliance.

He added that demand for real estate seems to be less an issue now than before due to the country’s demographic.

The important signs that the BSP is looking at in real estate is the capacity of individuals to pay their loans; how well banks can find good borrowers; and what recourse a person has when he falls into financial distress.

“If you want to keep the economy healthy, stay away from those no downpayment deals, which make it harder overtime for you to pay off your property,” Duplito said.
NEDA-ICC approves subway, 5 other projects

Posted at 01/15/2015 11:22 PM
-- ANC Business Nightly, January 15, 2015
Watch the video here: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/video/business/01/15/15/neda-icc-approves-subway-5-other-projects

A Cabinet-level NEDA committee approves the Philippines’'first subway, a Manila-Bicol-Laguna railway, and four other projects, paving the way for final approval by President Aquino.
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