• BPO market to drive Bacolod retail, residential growth

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    Bright prospects are seen for the Bacolod City retail and residential property markets as demand for the sectors continues to be driven by the robust outsourcing activity in the area, according to real estate services firm Colliers International.

    In its report released on Wednesday, Colliers said the continued dynamism of Bacolod City’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry is driving the growth of the city’s retail market.

    Bacolod City was recognized as a center of excellence for IT-BPM (information technology and business process management) by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

    At present, the city’s BPO sector employs around 24,000 full-time employees, and this is expected to rise to 60,000 by 2022, according to the IT Council and Bacolod City Goverment.

    Colliers noted that the expected job growth creates opportunities for retail developments.

    “Retail opportunities in the city abound, especially those that cater to BPO workers’ needs such as convenience stores,” Colliers said.

    The report noted an estimated 80 percent of the city’s fulltime BPO employees are single and about 90 percent of their salaries is allotted for household expenses, much of which is spent within the city.

    “The demand for food retail outlets that offer hot meals round-the-clock and a diverse set of food choices is also growing,” Colliers said.

    Aside from its influence on th e growth of Bacolod City’s retail market, the projected rise in BPO jobs also creates demand for the residential sector.

    “Over the near to medium term, Colliers sees the Bacolod City residential market being driven by the demand for worker-accommodation facilities,” Colliers said.

    The real estate services firm cited data from the Bacolod-Negros IT Council that show that 59 percent of BPO workers are from Bacolod City while 31 percent live within Negros Occidental and 10 percent reside outside of Negros Occidental.

    “This means that four out of every 10 BPO workers in Bacolod City need to rent or stay in a worker-accommodation facility located in city’s business districts,” the report said.

    Moreover, the report emphasized that Bacolod City continues to be on the BPO investors’ radar mainly driven by its skilled workforce and adequate infrastructure.

    Among the attractive factors of Bacolod City on the infrastructure side are its 27 Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA)-accredited IT centers; redundant internet connectivity; stable power supply; continuous improvement of roads; the planned modernization of Bacolod-Silay airport; and strong coordination of public and private stakeholders.

    This is another factor that could bode well for the city’s retail market, according to Colliers.

    “The spillover effects of robust public and private construction around the city and its nearby towns should result in the creation of more employment opportunities and thus expand the city’s consumer base,” the report said.

    In addition, the city’s growing tourist arrival numbers will also create opportunities for retail establishments, according to Colliers.

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