Philippines property devt needs reforms

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Real estate developments in the country in general needs major reform and rehabilitation aside from those that were affected by calamities like Eastern Visayas that was devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda, and Bohol that was struck by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake.

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“All these disasters that have been happening in the country, whether it’s Tacloban or Bohol, one of the biggest problems that the Philippines have is we don’t have a credible, enforceable master plan, urban planning, in the country,” David Leechiu, country head of property services firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Philippines, said.

Leechiu indicated that the Philippines suffers from poor master planning and zoning, which is the main reason why a lot of property developments decay over the years.

“It’s part of the reason why we have so many problems. It’s like asking me how to solve the problems of the Philippines. It’s about how you enforce the law, enforce the plan and stick to it. But you also have to bear in mind that a lot of the plans are outdated. So this is the time to rehabilitate and re-visit what we’re doing,” Leechiu told The Manila Times after a briefing with reporters.

According to him, the leaders of local government units should start reviewing the master planning of the cities they lead, and implement a proper zoning soon.

For instance, Leechiu cited that Manila is full of old buildings that should be rehabilitated or re-developed.

“The leaders of the city, whichever city, have to come across and say: ‘I want to re-zone or re-masterplan my city in an intelligent way and in a way that makes sense and then enforce it, then stick to the plan,’” he said.

Nevertheless, Leechiu still said that the zoning problem in the country is still not yet hopeless.

“It’s not hopeless, there are just too many challenges. There are just too many answers and there are no simple answers,” he further said.

As for Tacloban, Leechiu said that he’s going there next week to make further property evaluations but as far as housing development is concerned, he said that a developer, which he did not identify, is planning to re-build 10,000 homes in the area.

“Every peso they [investors]put there, mas mataas ang return [the return will be higher]assuming there will still be a lot of people left in Tacloban,” he added.

Real estate forecast
Meanwhile, JLL Philippines is optimistic that the real estate sector in the country will still ramp up in 2014, adding that the demand is still quite high.

“We are expecting 700,000 square meters of supply that will be available in 2014. The demand is still quite high,” Lizanne Tan, a JLL associate director, said.

Philipp Anonuevo, another JLL associate director, also said that on top of other key cities, Cavite will be the next frontier in terms of potential locations of new property developments.

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