Century Group expands to housing, tourism markets

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LISTED property developer Century Properties Group Inc is venturing into the economic housing and tourism and leisure property markets in a bid to diversify its product offerings.

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At its annual stockholders’ meeting on Friday, Century Properties chairman Ambassador Jose E.B. Antonio told stockholders that the company will soon launch two economic housing projects and two tourism and leisure-oriented developments.

“We are currently pursuing more fervently new projects in the economic housing space. We will proceed with the same amount of prudence, opportunism, and progressive mentality that we have always employed,” Antonio said.

“We will deliver projects that are expected to offer reliable returns in reasonable payback periods. These and a few other initiatives will steer the company towards long-term growth and profitability, which can ride the peaks and troughs of real estate cycles,” he added.

In an interview following the stockholders’ meeting, Antonio told reporters that the company plans to launch two economic housing projects this year, one in the north of Metro Manila and one in the south, which will require an investment of up to P2 billion per project.

“Our basic model is buying parcels of land that is 10 hectares and above. So our capex [capital expenditure]per project will be one to two billion [pesos]per project,” Antonio said.

Units in these economic housing projects will be priced at between P1 million and P1.5 million and will measure at least 40 square meters but still expandable.

“Pag nagkaroon ng pera yung buyer [If the buyer comes into some money], you can expand it,” Antonio said.

The housing projects will cater to the young Filipino demographics and will target first home buyers.

“We’re targeting first home buyers, which is a lot. The average age of the Filipinos is 24 years old. So a lot of first-home buyers will be buying,” Antonio expressed.

Prospect areas for these horizontal housing developments are Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Pampanga. He said they are still negotiating the acquisition of the land for the two housing projects with the landowners.

“Actually, there’s so many on the table. We’re in the final stages of negotiation,” Antonio said.

Antonio clarified that the company will not be slowing down on its vertical developments even with its diversification.

“We’re not slowing down. We are very opportunistic,” he said.

For the tourism and leisure-oriented market, Antonio said Century has two projects in the pipeline—one in Batangas and the other in Palawan.

“We have announced it earlier that we have two leisure and tourism-oriented projects. One is near Mt. Batulao, 146 hectares. And we acquired last year a big property in San Vicente, Palawan,” Antonio said.

The master plan for the Palawan project has already been completed but they are still waiting for the new international airport in San Vicente to begin operating before they launch the project, he explained.

“So we’re just waiting for the airport. The airport is finished, the facilities are finished plus the 3 km runway, the airport building is finished. They’re just waiting for the approval of the CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines). So when that happens, we’re going to launch our project in San Vicente,” the Century chairman added.

As for the Mt. Batulao project, Antonio said: “We’re finalizing the plan for Batulao. Batulao is accessible from Manila. So by car, kaya mo pumunta dun [you can go there]. And you know the figures in the Tagaytay area, on a weekend, you get half a million people,” Antonio said.

By diversifying their product line, Antonio said Century Properties will be more stable in terms of profitability.

“The way we look at it, we will have a four-legged table. We have vertical now, then we have our recurring income portfolio which will be office and retail. Then we will have our economic housing, which is the third leg. Then we will have leisure and tourism. It’s going to be very stable. Four legs. We don’t rely on one segment for profitability,” Antonio said.

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