Developers bullish on RP despite slowdown

Published by rudy Date posted on March 27, 2009

Building Blocks

MANILA, Philippines – EVEN if it’s not going to turn very positive, the country’s developers are nevertheless thankful that home building has never been negative for the Philippine economy.

“In the United States, people are scared to make big transactions, especially a house purchase. American home buyers could not be coaxed back even with a glut of housing stock and a free-fall in prices there,” described Bansan Choa, national president of the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association, the Philippines’ largest organization of housing developers.

During the recent oath taking of SHDA’s new set of officers, Choa said Filipino home buyers, unlike their counterparts elsewhere in the world, were not sidelined by worries about the economy.

Past experience

“Perhaps, our past experience with the currency and financial crisis in 1997 taught us a thing or two on how to deal with the current situation,” Choa said.

And so far, the results were encouraging.

“SHDA is grateful of the several policy factors that favored the real estate industry, for example, the substantial allocation of P30 billion by the Pag-ibig Fund in addition to the funds that are available through private banks as well as the guarantee provided by the government to housing loans through the Home Guaranty Corp.,” SHDA chairman Eduardo Alunan said.

This retail financing from Pag-Ibig has been going up from P10 billion in 2001 to P25 billion in 2008 and to P30 billion in 2009.

Alunan said this trend was good news considering that at this time of global financial crisis, the country needed to put funds in industries that would stimulate the economy and create more jobs for more Filipinos.

Supported

“Housing should be supported considering this is one sector with a big multiplier effect on the economy. Each million invested in housing translates to P16.6 million in economic activity here,” Alunan said during the oath-taking ceremony held at the Discovery Suites in Pasig City.

The oath taking of SHDA’s new officers was presided by Vice President Noli de Castro who also chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, a major partner of SHDA in all its advocacy.

“Through our partnership approach, SHDA has served as a primary representative not only of our members but also of developers in general, in dealing with the government and several of its housing arms and of course, private firms that deal with the housing sector,” Choa explained.

Witnessed

In fact, De Castro during the ceremony also witnessed the signing of an agreement that SHDA entered into with Cemex and Holcim, two of the country’s largest cement makers.

“We were able to negotiate with these two companies, to have their cement price locked for one year. This is below the market price agreement and is exclusive only to our active members,” Choa explained.

He added that such memorandum of agreement would help SHDA’s entire membership, especially those with projects in far-off locations in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Welcomed

This news was also welcomed by the Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines, wherein a number of its developers were also SHDA members.

“Our organization partnered with SHDA to convince HUDCC to adjust the loan ceiling for socialized housing from P300,000 to P400,000,” OSHDP president Linda Tan reported.

Tan added that such increased loan allocation would give their members, concentrating on socialized housing projects, the chance to continue building houses as they were assured that these would be taken out.

The OSHDP, unlike its other shelter organization-counterparts, focuses primarily on socialized housing development, which is a housing unit that costs no more than P400,000.–Charles E. Buban, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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