Monday, April 18, 2011

Investors keen on PH housing market, REITs

MANILA, Philippines—The prospects of the real-estate sector in the Asia-Pacific region remain bright despite the steady stream of demand from investors—for both physical assets and shares of property developers—that have kept prices high in recent months.

This rosy outlook includes the Philippines, where the backlog in the housing sector and the possible introduction of real estate investment trusts (REITs) make the market attractive to foreign investors, said a fund manager who specializes in real-estate investments.

In particular, Panna Capital founder Brett Gordon singled out the affordable housing market as being attractive to investors, along with “pre-IPO opportunities” for growing private developers who have yet to list their shares on the Philippine Stock Exchange.

“The implementation of the REIT law in the Philippines is also going to be very interesting,” said Gordon during a recent conference for Asia-Pacific journalists sponsored by Swiss investment bank UBS.

REITs are publicly listed entities formed for the purpose of investing in income-generating real-estate assets like residential and commercial developments. This is particularly attractive as an investment vehicle for foreign funds, which are prevented by the Constitution from directly owning real-estate assets in the country.

“(The REIT law has) been stalled a number of times now, but if that comes into effect, I expect to see a growing institutional market for real estate in the Philippines,” he said.

“Asean [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations] is massively overlooked as a growth story, especially on the residential side,” added Gordon who, previous to his founding of Panna Capital, was in charge of real-estate investments at Dutch pension fund giant APG Investments.

Earlier this year, he was named the top-ranked real-estate investment manager in Asia by the Reuters Extel Survey.

Gordon singled out Indonesia and the Philippines as being attractive real-estate investment markets because “the demographics are ‘to die for,’” referring to the young population with growing disposable incomes and attractive prevailing mortgage rates offered by banks, as well as the high margins earned by developers.

According to data from Panna Capital, the Philippines has 35 real-estate companies on its investment radar screen with a combined market capitalization of $16 billion, compared with the total of 409 real-estate firms with a $202-billion market capitalization for the entire “emerging Asia” zone.

In the Philippines, Gordon cited the performance of Ayala Land Inc. due to the earnings prospects provided by its housing projects and its Bonifacio Global City project.

Lastly, FYI for related information on the new real estate law, RA 9646, please proceed to, the online repository of updated information on Real Estate Service Act of 2009 (RESA).

source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 10 2011

BSP cuts OFW remittance growth forecast

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has slashed the projected growth in the amount of money sent home by Filipinos abroad this year and sees further slowdown next year due to the ongoing tensions in Middle East and North African (MENA) states as well as the magnitude 8.9 earthquake and killer tsunami in Japan.

BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said in a speech delivered on behalf of BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. at the economic briefing organized by the Security Bank that monetary authorities expect remittances from oversees Filipino workers (OFWs) growing by seven percent to a record level of $20.1 billion this year from $18.76 billion last year.

This was lower than the original growth target of eight percent to about $20.2 billion this year.

“Remittances in 2011 are expected to remain resilient amid possible downside risks such as the turmoil in the MENA region and natural disasters in Japan,” Espenilla stressed.

He clarified that while remittances from Japan account for 4.7 percent of the total remittances, the natural calamities in Japan may even encourage greater demand for OFWs once reconstruction efforts commence

He added that the impact on actual remittance flows could be limited if conflict in the MENA is contained to those currently affected.

For 2012, Espenilla added the monetary authorities expect OFW remittances to grow at a slower pace of five percent to about $21.1 billion.

The revised projections, according to him, were presented to the BSP’s Monetary Board last April 14.

OFW remittances posted its slowest monthly growth in nine months in February after expanding by 6.2 percent to $1.5 billion from $1.41 billion in the same month last year.

However, the monthly growth recorded in February was the slowest since May last year when remittances posted a monthly growth of 6.5 percent. The growth in OFW remittances has likewise slowed down for the third straight month after posting a 10.5 percent growth in November to 8.1 percent in December, to 7.6 percent in January, and to 6.2 percent in February.

Despite the slowdown, the BSP is confident that remittances would remain robust this year as monetary authorities penned an eight percent growth in the amount of money sent home by Filipinos abroad to their loved ones in the Philippines.

In the first two months of the year, the BSP chief said the amount of money sent home by overseas Filipinos climbed 6.9 percent to $2.98 billion from $2.78 billion in the same period last year as remittances from sea-based Filipino workers jumped 12.7 percent while that of lnd-based workers grew 5.5 percent.

Filipinos in the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and Italy accounted for 80.2 percent of the total remittances in January and February.

In fact, the state-run Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) processed 43,360 job orders for service, production as well as professional, technical, and related workers in the first quarter of the year for deployment in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, and Taiwan.

OFW remittances went up by 8.2 percent to a new record level of $18.76 billion last year from $17.35 billion in 2009 exceeding the revised eight percent growth forecast set by the BSP for 2010. Originally, the BSP penned a six percent growth for OFW remittances last year but revised the target due to the strong demand for skilled Filipino workers abroad.

Lastly, FYI for related information on the new real estate law, RA 9646, please proceed to, the online repository of updated information on Real Estate Service Act of 2009 (RESA).

source: Philippine Star, April 18 2011

BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY: A cash cow indeed

BUSINESS & LEISURE By Ray Butch Gamboa (The Philippine Star) Updated February 26, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

Whenever I get a first-hand account from the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) of the proceeds of their dispositions, I inevitably get light-headed. The dizzying amounts, in the billions, they so casually and nonchalantly report on should be enough to pluck us out of indebtedness as a nation, I thought. But why have we not gotten far, in spite of it?

Definitely, it’s not for lack of diligence and professional management from this group of dedicated men and women who see the agency’s projects through. Their records have been made public, available for perusal by anybody who cares to look, and their Executive Vice President, Ms. Aileen Zosa speaks for the agency as clearly and as definitive as one can wish for.

In 2010, they generated proceeds of P3.2 billion, a hefty amount in itself, but in 2009, they generated more than P5 billion. The 43 percent contraction is largely because many of the properties were released to the market in 2009, and one can’t expect to flood the market with a lot more the following year. Prudence dictates that you give the market sufficient time to absorb the real estate bulk just released.

Aileen reports on the P26 billion they have generated. These mainly came from joint projects/lease proceeds with Ayala Land, Market Market (lease only), Mega World on North Bonifacio (joint venture) for eight hectares, McKinley Hill (joint venture), Jusmag property (P873 million for the next twenty years). Within the next six years, this figure would reach P30 billion, P9 billion of which would be generated from 2011 to 2016.

Between 2011-2021, they expect proceeds of P14 billion from fixed and secured revenues, which means that this is only a minimum figure. Talking on the upside, the figure could definitely go much higher, depending on the market conditions, but it cannot go lower than P14 billion.

Of the expected proceeds of P30 billion proceeds and counting another P50 billion in proceeds, the BCDA has a clear mandate on the issuances of proceeds. RA 7197 stipulates that for sale of assets, the following are the beneficiaries: the AFP Modernization Program, the National Shelter Program, Commission on Higher Education, Judiciary Reform Program, and the BCDA programs.

Leases are covered by Executive Order 309 which gives 50 percent of proceeds to the AFP Modernization Program (again!) and 50 percent to the BCDA.

If you’re wondering where the additional P50 billion earlier mentioned came from, it is from the disposition of the Bonifacio and Villamor properties which as of January 2011 came out to P50.8 billion. Of this, P21.19 billion went to the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the relocation and replication of the military facilities affected by the sale. P9.49 billion went to the modernization trust fund (again!!), P464 million was remitted to the National Treasury for the contiguous municipalities that were affected by the sale of Villamor and Bonifacio, and another P690 million for non-military facilities affected by the developments in these areas. Other government programs got benefited to the tune of P7.2 billion, bringing the total to almost P33 billion. The rest were retained in the BCDA coffers to fund their programs in Subic and Clark which they estimate to run to P10.3 billion, leaving them a balance of P11 billion. Most of this went to direct expenses incurred by the agency in their development/disposition of assets, but the agency hastened to add that almost half of this P11 billion was paid to the BIR for taxes and various fees. Curiously, BCDA was declared tax-exempt, but the BIR chose to tax them heftily nevertheless. Well, out one pocket and into another.

Aren’t these figures mind-boggling? Seeing how the proceeds have contracted substantially in the last year, many would fear that the lands for conversion are actually drying up. Fear not—thankfully they haven’t. They still have over 60 hectares of prime land for disposition. These come mostly from Bonifacio South where the Jusmag property is. We’re talking of 33 hectares in this property alone and the Supreme Court had to rule on the legitimate ownership of this huge tract of expensive land over a year ago. The BCDA went into a joint venture with Mega World for this one.

The rest of the Bonifacio South property is where the B & S property is. This one is 33 hectares, home to the Philippine Marine Corporation Headquarters, the Bonifacio Naval Station and some Philippine Army properties.The BCDA has actually started to dispose of these properties, though they are all still under policy review by the President’s office. Pres. P-Noy reportedly prefers leases over direct sales. Whatever it is they finally decide on, BCDA is confident they will be able to dispose of all 33 hectares by the end of the present year.

Beside the 33 hectare property of the B & S is another 25 hectare property which an entity called the Navy Officers Village Association (NOVA) is laying claim to. The government maintains that this entity got their title through a fake proclamation, and they have elevated the case to the Supreme Court.

Many of us do not realize that in the Bonifacio Global City development (joint venture with Ayala Land and the Campos group called the Fort Bonifacio Dev. Corp.), the government through the BCDA owns 45 percent of it. The Ayala-Campos consortium owns 55 percent. Although the land in Bonifacio Global City has been exhausted, BCDA’s part of the development has been converted into shares. These shares will eventually form part of the disposition proceeds if the government wishes to sell its stake of 45 percent.

Noteworthy here are the allocations for the AFP Modernization Program. Aside from the huge share they got from the multi-billion joint ventures, they get 50 percent of all lease proceeds, which are continuing. Talk about mind-boggling.

(P.S. – All this money and they can’t even support a road safety program.)