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Monday, February 16, 2015
PHL among 20 best foreign retirement havens for 2015, according to Forbes
February 15, 2015 8:44pmhttp://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/437290/economy/business/phl-among-20-best-foreign-retirement-havens-for-2015-according-to-forbes
With its low cost of living and its leaving foreign income untaxed, the Philippines has been named among the 20 best foreign retirement havens for 2015 by American business magazine Forbes.
"For US retirees the principal appeal of the Philippines is a low cost of living in a tropical environment full of English speakers and outdoor beauty," Forbes said in its article "The Best Foreign Retirement Havens For 2015."
"Foreign income is untaxed, and permanent residency can be had on a minimal showing of retirement income," it further noted.
It noted popular locations such as Tagaytay that are "elevated and therefore cooler" and Subic Bay, with its US navy base infrastructure.
Forbes also noted that there are nonstop flights between Manila and US that take an average of 15 hours.
According to the magazine, it identified the 20 "appealing foreign countries" based on a review of factors such as cost of living, cultural attractions and scenery, safety, tax matters—especially breaks for retirees—local hospitality, weather, availability of adequate healthcare and prevalence of English.
Other countries included in the list are: Australia, Belize, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, France, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, and Uruguay.
Last year, Forbes ranked Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental fifth on the list of best places to retire.
Malacañang welcomed Forbes' assessment and said Filipinos should exert more effort in improving the country's investment climate.
"Siyempre po ikinakagalak po natin ang pahayag na ‘yan ng isang reputable na pahayagan, ang Forbes, at ito ay dapat na maging basehan upang tayo ay higit pang magpunyagi sa pagpapaganda ng investment climate sa ating bansa," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said on government-run dzRB on Sunday.
According to Coloma, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. noted that in 2014, foreign tourist arrivals reached 4.83 million—a 3.25-percent increase from 2013—and tourism revenues hit P214.8 billion.
"At dahil po dito, ibayong pagsisikap pa rin sa bahagi ng pamahalaan sa pangunguna ng Department of Tourism sa paggawa ng lahat ng nararapat para mapanatili ang pagiging attractive destination ng ating bansa," Coloma said.
According to the National Tourism Development Plan, the Tourism department had a target of 6 million visitor arrivals in 2014.
This year, the agency eyes 8 million foreign tourist arrivals. — Kathryn Mae P. Tubadeza/BM, GMA News
New brands, slower tourist arrivals to temper Metro Manila hotel rates —Colliers Intl
By DANESSA O. RIVERA, GMA NewsFebruary 13, 2015 12:08pmhttp://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/435393/economy/companies/new-brands-slower-tourist-arrivals-to-temper-metro-manila-hotel-rates-colliers-intl
Metro Manila hotel rates are under pressure amid the influx of hotel brands in the country, as well as the seemingly slower growth trend of tourist arrivals, property consultancy firm Colliers International Philippines said in a report released late Thursday.
Average hotel room rates across major classifications exhibited stable to declining growth by end-2014, Colliers noted in its latest research and forecast report.
Data from the property consultancy firm showed the average five-star room rates grew 0.3 percent, the average four-star room rates continued to decline by 3.8 percent, and the average three-star room rates dropped by 11.5 percent in the second half of 2014.
"As the competition among hotels intensifies, operators are forced to adjust their prices in order to attract more travelers to stay in their hotels," the report read.
In fact, 2,038 new hotel rooms opened in Metro Manila, bringing the total room inventory to 19,373, Colliers said.
Meanwhile, some 3,580 hotel rooms will be delivered annually over the next four years as hotel operators bank on improving economic conditions, it added.
Last year, the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) grew 6.1 percent, after accelerated government spending helped the economy recover in the fourth quarter.
French-based hotel management company Accor targets to open six new projects across various locations in Metro Manila in the next two years.
The Wyndham group – known for its Microtel brand – will introduce its select-service hotel brand Tryp in the Mall of Asia complex in 2015.
Also, there are openings of hotel developments in Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.'s (Pagcor) Entertainment City pushed back to the first quarter of 2015 due to bottlenecks in construction, Colliers said. These are the hotels opening in the City of Dreams Manila including the Grand Hyatt City of Dreams, Nobu Hotel, and Crown Towers.
In terms of tourist arrivals, the number of tourists that went to the country totalled 3.96 million from January to October 2014, according to the Department of Tourism.
This was a 2.3 percent growth year-on-year, the lowest registered for the country since 2010, Colliers noted.
"If the trend continues, Colliers estimates that 4.8 million foreign tourists visited the country in 2014, far behind the government target of 6.0 million tourists," the report read.
With the influx of new hotel rooms and slower growth of tourist arrivals, occupancy rate in Metro Manila is seen to decline to 65.6 percent, Colliers noted.
"The outlook remains rosy, however, as the country will host two significant events in 2015: the Papal Visit in January and the APEC Ministerial Meetings, both of which are expected to spur demand for accommodations in Metro Manila," it noted.
Pope Francis visited the Philippines last January 15 to 19.
Meanwhile, various APEC meetings will be held across the country starting November 2014 in preparation for the World Leaders’ Summit on November 17 and 18, 2015.
These areas include Pampanga, Manila, Bataan, Albay, Tagaytay City, Iloilo, Boracay Island, Bacolod City and Cebu. —KG, GMA News
Residential property sales, inventory dropping
Market correcting, now back to ‘more rational’ levels
Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
5:30 AM | Friday, February 13th, 2015http://business.inquirer.net/186616/residential-property-sales-inventory-dropping
MANILA, Philippines–Metro Manila’s residential property market contracted in 2014 in terms of both additional inventory and sales take-up. But the current levels were, according to property consulting firm Colliers Philippines, “more rational” compared to the exuberance seen in the previous three years.
In a briefing on Thursday, Colliers Philippines director for research and advisory Julius Guevara said that nearly 40,000 residential units were sold last year, 7 percent lower than the take-up in 2013.
He said the decline might be due largely to a similar reduction in residential unit launches, which fell by 33 percent to nearly 39,000 units last year.
He said the residential property market was only continuing the “correction” that started in 2013 after hitting a high of 51,000 residential units taken up in 2012.
“We feel the market has now returned to more rational levels in terms of home-buying,” Guevara said, noting that Metro Manila’s primary residential condominium market would likely be able to sustain an annual residential unit take-up of 30,000 to 40,000 levels.
Asked to define what Colliers considered a “rational” residential market, Guevara said this was a market driven by real underlying homeowner demand and not investors who intend to rent out these units.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has been tightly monitoring the real estate exposure of the banking industry and mapping out new regulations as a preemptive move against possible property bubbles.
Based on Colliers’ latest report, total residential licenses issued by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board declined by 4 percent in 2014, weighed down by the slowdown in the following segments: socialized housing (-15.7 percent); mid-income housing (-9 percent) and high-rise residential (-2.6 percent).
Only the low-cost housing segment expanded in 2014, with licenses issued increasing by 6.6 percent. Colliers said this was because more local developers were venturing into the affordable housing segment to meet the still huge supply backlog.
From 2015 to 2018, Colliers expects a total of 30,935 residential units to be delivered in the major business districts of Metro Manila, 40 percent of which are scheduled for completion in 2015. About 75 percent of these units are studio and one-bedroom types with floor areas of 18 to 90 square meters.
“The majority of these units will likely cater to young professionals and investors who are diversifying their investment portfolios,” Colliers’ latest research report said.
“As such, the influx of these smaller-sized units is expected to create pressure on rental rates and resale prices,” it noted.
The larger three- to five-bedroom units, according to the research, would account for 7 percent of the new supply with unit cuts of between 100 and 500 square meters.
In Makati central business district, the research noted that overall vacancy rate declined by 4 basis points to 8.1 percent in the fourth quarter due to the strong take-up of Grade A and Grade B projects.
Leasing activities, however, remained high in the lower end of the spectrum as Makati remained a preferred location, with vacancy rate in this segment declining by 60 basis points, it noted.
In the premium residential market, vacancy rate declined by 17 basis points to 4.4 percent, as there were new projects completed during the period. Colliers expects vacancy rate in this segment to rise by 260 basis points, as more units are slated for completion.
For the rental market, the research noted that rental rates in Makati CBD, Rockwell and Bonifacio Global City (BGC) posted a more stable growth in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Rent, property prices to rise 4-6 pct this year
Posted at 02/13/2015 3:37 PMhttp://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/02/13/15/rent-property-prices-rise-4-6-pct-year
MANILA, Philippines - Property consultant Colliers said residential rents and property values in three of the country's priciest areas - Makati, Fort Bonifacio and Rockwell - will grow at a stable pace this year, with enough demand for current and upcoming condominiums.
Colliers said the value of residential rents will grow moderately at 4-5 percent growth, while capital values will grow by 4-6 percent.
Colliers said a 15 percent increase in prices is a signal that an asset price bubble could be forming, but adds that the Bangko Sentral and even developers have been implementing measures to prevent that.
"The developers are well aware of this. They experienced Asian financial crisis, taken prudent measures to address this, pre-selling condo market-- reduced project launches by 33 percent in 2014. it's because they saw that there's been a decline in sales," Julius Guevarra, Colliers director for research and advisory, said.
"The BSP is taking a close look at real estate sector, a lot of measures, looking into real estate shadow banking phenomenon. Developers are lending to borrowers through down payment schemes. These are moves in the right direction," he said.
Meanwhile, Colliers also said the sale of residential units in Metro Manila dropped 7 percent last year which is considered more rational after three years of high sales. - ANC
DPWH to start work on Buendia Tunnel project in April
February 15, 2015 6:53amhttp://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/436842/economy/business/dpwh-to-start-work-on-buendia-tunnel-project-in-april
Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson announced on Wednesday that work on the 880-lineal meter Senator Gil Puyat Avenue-Makati Avenue–Paseo de Roxas Underpass project will start in April, once pre-construction activities are completed in March.
“As early as now, I appeal for the understanding of the motorists and commuters on any inconvenience the project may cause as I have directed the contractor to maximize project time schedule,” Singson said in a post in the DPWH website.
“The Department is also coordinating with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Makati officials for the traffic management within the vicinity.”
The P1.27 billion project will ultimately address traffic congestion within the Makati Central Business District and its surrounding areas. Construction was expected to take 22 months.
The project will see the construction of a four-lane vehicle underpass along the innermost lanes of Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, passing through Makati Avenue and Paseo de Roxas intersections, as well as a covered tunnel portion of about 570 meters. — Joel Locsin/DVM, GMA News
Clark Green City project attracts interest from PH, foreign firms
Posted at 02/13/2015 6:05 PMhttp://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/02/13/15/clark-green-city-project-attracts-interest-ph-foreign-firms
MANILA - The Philippines will hold a tender within the first quarter of the year for the right to develop a portion of a 9,500-hectare (23,475-acre) former US base into a masterplanned city north of the capital, a government official said on Friday.
The Clark Green City project has piqued the interest of major Philippine property firms and foreign companies such as Sumitomo Corp, Hitachi Ltd, Farglory Land Development Co Ltd and Mitsubishi Corp, said Arnel Paciano Casanova, president of the state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
BCDA will publish on Feb. 19 the auction terms for the development rights of a 200-hectare parcel of the mixed-use project. Both foreign and local investors may submit bids.
"We are also doing parallel discussions with foreign partners who could locate in the special economic zone," Casanova told reporters.
The BCDA, tasked with converting former military bases into masterplanned communities and business districts, also plans to get joint venture partners to develop the rest of the 1,300-hectare phase 1 of Clark Green City.
The agency expects private firms to spend a total of 59 billion pesos ($1.33 billion) to develop the 1,300-hectare parcel, almost four times the size of New York's Central Park, Casanova said.
Clark Green City is targeted to generate 1.57 trillion pesos worth of economic activity annually and create nearly a million jobs when development is complete, government studies show.
Plastic trash at sea: PH, Indonesia among top contributorshttp://www.rappler.com/thewrap/february-15-2015-edition/plastic-trash-at-sea-ph-indonesia-among-top-contributors
In a landmark study, scientists have estimated that millions of tons of plastic waste go into the sea worldwide every year, with middle-income nations – including the Philippines – shown to be among the top contributors. Between an estimated 4.8-12.7 million metric tons of garbage goes into the sea annually, and the top contributors are China, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
If the trends the researchers saw in their study hold up in the next few years, we can expect mismanaged waste to increase further.
RLC profit up 35.4%
Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:36 AM | Monday, February 16th, 2015http://business.inquirer.net/186807/rlc-profit-up-35-4
Gokongwei-led property developer Robinsons Land Corp. grew its net profit for the quarter ending December by 35.4 percent to P1.4 billion.
RLC’s profit was boosted by the growth in its office and hotel portfolio alongside the stable performance of its shopping mall and residential projects.
The increase is also due to some base effects given the extraordinary property losses incurred in the same period in 2014 brought about by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) that ravaged Eastern Visayas.
The three-month period covering October to December is the first quarter in RLC’s fiscal year, which ends every September.
Total revenue rose by 9 percent to P4.79 billion while cash flow as measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) went up by 11.2 percent to P2.58 billion.
RLC malls, office and hotels, contributed 83 percent of Ebitda.
The commercial centers division generated 46 percent or P2.2 billion of gross revenue, up by 12.6 percent.
The office buildings division contributed 10 percent or P467.2 million of the company’s revenue, up by 29.1 percent from last year’s P361.8 million. Lease income was derived from 10 completed office buildings with a total occupancy of 99 percent, including Cyberscape Alpha and Cyberscape Beta which opened in fiscal year 2014 and are located in the Ortigas Central Business District (CBD).
Currently, Cyberscape Alpha is 100 percent leased out while Cyberscape Beta has a lease take up of 94 percent.
The hotels division contributed 9 percent or P446.9 million to the company’s revenues, up by 11.4 percent obtained from 13 hotel properties for the period, including the newly opened Go Hotels Butuan as well as hotels opened in fiscal year 2014, namely: Go Hotels Iloilo and Go Hotels Alpha Ortigas.
The company also recently opened Summit Magnolia which forms part of the Magnolia Town Center, its mixed-use development in Quezon City.
Its residential segment contributed P1.68 billion in revenue, slightly up from P1.67 billion in the previous year.
RLC’s financial position remains solid, with 34 centavos in debt for every P1 in equity as of end-December. Net debt to equity stood at 31 centavos to P1 in debt.
This month, the company will issue fixed-rate bonds worth P10 billion.