The TRAIN Law, the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program, adjustment of price ceilings for socialized and low-cost housing—these are some of the real estate market indicators that defined 2018 and what will shape the market in the years to come, as reported by Pinnacle Real Estate Consulting Services, Inc. in its latest research.
Here are the major highlights of Pinnacle’s latest report.
- TRAIN Law and Real Estate
The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Bill or the Republic Act 10963 took effect on the first day of 2018, whose main purpose is to implement revisions in the Philippine internal revenue tax system, thus providing additional disposable income to working Filipinos.
Aside from this, there were also allied gains in the taxes involving real estate transactions. Some of these are the rate-reduction and simplification of the estate and donor’ tax systems and value-added tax base expansion affecting socialized and low cost housing segments, residential condominium dues, residential leasing, and the much-delayed Real Estate Investment Trust.
It is also said that 70% of the revenues from the TRAIN Law shall be used to fund the infrastructure projects of the government.
- Infrastructure Gains for Real Estate
The government continues to invest heavily on projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program. As of 30 November 2018, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approved 35 infrastructure flagship projects with an estimated cost of Php1.537 trillion. This is in line with the current administration’s policy to undertake a minimum of Php1 trillion worth of infrastructure projects per year until 2022.
On top of the list is the Php357-billion Metro Manila Subway Project – Phase 1 funded by a loan from the Japanese government. This 25.3-kilometer underground commuter rail system will from Quezon City to Taguig City with an extension going to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
- Adjustment on Price Ceilings for Socialized Housing
In 2018, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) issued House Resolutions Nos. 1 and 2 to increase the price ceiling for socialized subdivision and socialized condominium housing projects, respectively. The adjusted price ceiling for horizontal socialized housing projects now range between Php480,000 and Php580,000.
Price ceiling for vertical socialized housing or socialized condominium projects is between Php700,000 and Php750,000 for Metro Manila and selected nearby areas, and between Php600,000 and Php650,000 for other areas. There were no existing or separate housing ceiling under this category.
- Boracay Closure
In April 2018, the government ordered the closure of Boracay for a period of six months to rehabilitate the island. Fast forward, Boracay reopened to the public in October 2018, but the government has now enforced stricter rules and regulations in the operation and maintenance of the island in order for its tourism industry to be sustainable. Major changes are the reduction of the daily tourist capacity and accreditation of resorts, hotels, and other lodging facilities ensuring they are environment-friendly before they operate.
The closure and rehabilitation of Boracay may have encouraged sustainable and responsible tourism as the government is closely monitoring the situation in El Nido and Coron in Palawan, Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro, and Panglao in Bohol.
- New Manila International Airport in Bulacan
The 50-year concession agreement for the New Manila International Airport finally got the approval from the National Economic and Development Authority. San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SMHC), a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation, submitted the unsolicited proposal for the construction, operation and maintenance of the airport.
The project will be constructed in a 2,500-hectare land in Bulakan, Bulacan with an estimated project cost of Php735.6 billion. Once completed, the airport will have a passenger capacity of 100 million a year which is thrice the passenger capacity of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
- Updates on REITs
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) have made moves to dismantle two roadblocks that hinder the full implementation of the REIT Law. The SEC, for its part, has agreed to lower the minimum public ownership (MPO) to 33%, provided that the BIR clarifies that initial transfers of property to REITs are exempt from VAT as provided by the TRAIN Law. Statement from BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay affirm that the interpretation of the TRAIN Law, saying that the initial property transfers to REITs are VAT-exempt as long as they qualify under Section 40(C)(2) of the 1997 tax code.
- TRABAHO Bill
The Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-Quality Opportunities (TRABAHO) Bill or the second package of the TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) Law was approved on third and final reading at the House of Representatives. As its title suggests, its objective is to generate better and high-quality employment opportunities by attracting new business and investments through reduction of their corporate income tax (CIT). The Philippines has the highest CIT among ASEAN countries at 30%. Singapore, which we could say as the most business-friendly state in the region, has a CIT of only 17%.
- Cebu Continues Winning Form in the Tourism Sector
The second most important metropolitan area in the Philippines, Cebu has a prosperous tourism industry, and the opening of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) Terminal 2 has been a game changer and only bolstered the province’s position as one of the country’s top tourist destinations, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT). MCIA data shows that there were 1.4 million foreign tourist arrivals in Cebu from January to September of 2018, which is 22.76% higher than the figure recorded for the same period in 2017.
Another industry that Cebu should focus on is the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions) industry, according to DOT chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat. Two major international events will be held in Cebu this year: Routes Asia 2019 and Centre for Aviation’s (CAPA) LCCs in North Asia Summit. Cebu is a perfect target for big-ticket and high-profile events because of its touristy ambiance and its new airport terminal. These events are also expected to boost Cebu’s hotel occupancy this year.
- Bay Area Continues Uptrend
With a condo stock of approximately 20,000 units as of 2018, the Bay Area has already surpassed Ortigas Center as Metro Manila’s third largest condo submarket, and is expected to overtake the Makati central business district as the capital’s second largest condo submarket. Meanwhile, the Paranaque side of the Bay Area will soon have its own anchor retail tenant when the Ayala Mall Bay Area beside the City of Dreams Manila opens sometime in 2019. Touted as one of the biggest Ayala malls, foot traffic will significantly increase on this side of Entertainment City, and will have a significant impact on the resale price of condos near it. In addition, office rental rates in the Bay Area have already breached the Php1,000 per square meter per month mark, on par with rental rates of Grade A offices in the Makati CBD.
- Central Luzon as New Growth Area Outside Metro Manila
The current administration’s goal of spreading business opportunities outside Metro Manila is definitely spilling over to Central Luzon, most notably the areas within and around the Clark Freeport Zone. This development is boosted by several planned transport infrastructure projects that will improve the region’s connectivity.
One of these is the ongoing expansion project of the Clark International Airport, the first phase of which is scheduled for completion in June 2020, and involves a new 100,000-square-meter terminal being built by Megawide-GMR consortium and is expected to increase Clark’s capacity to 8 million passengers per year. Second in the government’s list is the Subic–Clark Cargo Railway, which will provide freight service between the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone.
Several national real estate players are seen to benefit from these ongoing developments, most notable of them include the Filinvest group, Dennis Uy’s Global Gateway Development Corp. (GGDC) with its Clark Global City, and SM Prime. Recently, GGDC has engaged the SM group to be the first anchor locator in Clark Global City. Pinnacle data shows a burst of activities in Central Luzon, most notably Mabalacat, Mexico, San Fernando, and Porac in Pampanga, LGUs that surround Angeles City.
- Davao as the Next ‘It’ Destination for Investment
One of the most exciting places in the Philippines at the moment, Davao City and the larger Davao Region will be the place to be this year. One of the region’s major draws is the planned transport infrastructure projects aimed at mitigating congestion in Davao City itself and improving transportation logistics for the whole Davao Region.
Foremost is the construction of the 44.6-kilometer Davao City Bypass Road that will commence in 2019. This ambitious project will include a tunnel section and will start from the Davao–Digos of the Pan-Philippine Highway in Toril and will terminate intersecting the Davao–Agusan National Highway in Panabo City.
The city’s airport will also receive a much-needed upgrade soon, thanks to the Davao Airport Operations, Maintenance and Development Project that will start in 2019. Once completed, the airport’s design capacity will be increased 500% to 17.9 million passengers per year. Data shows that in 2017, the airport handled 4,234,667 passengers, way above its design capacity.
With key infrastructures set to be delivered over the next few years, property developers have been very busy changing the landscape and skyline of Davao City dramatically. A multitude of property giants are bringing their unique and different brands into the real estate market of the city. One of the most anticipated developments is Ayala Land’s Azuela Cove and Megaworld’s Davao Park District.
- The Rise of Condo Submarkets Outside Traditional CBDs
With land prices in the Makati central business district and Bonifacio Global City scarce and prohibitively costly, developers are venturing out of the traditional business districts for their next Metro Manila projects. The Chino Roces area over the next few years will be a thriving condo submarket, similar to the north of Ayala area, while Ayala Land and Lucio Tan’s Eton Properties recently entered into a partnership to develop Parklinks, a 35-hectare master-planned project along C5 Road between Pasig and Quezon City (close to Eastwood City).
About Pinnacle Real Estate Consulting Services, Inc.
Pinnacle Real Estate Consulting Services, Inc. is a home-grown real estate brokerage and consulting firm. It provides a full range of services to local and foreign investors, buyers, and real estate lenders. It is composed of a team of experienced professionals dedicated to enhancing the value of client investments throughout the Philippines. The company’s primary business lines are real estate asset management and brokerage, real estate closing and advisory services, property appraisal, research and consulting, property and facilities management, and non-performing loan (NPL) asset management, among others.